Spirit Daily

Risking Her Own Life, English Woman Gives Birth Twice In A Miraculous Fashion

By Michael H. Brown

It's not often we get quite so upset, but there have been two recent items that sail far beyond the pale.

One we didn't link because it was simply too graphic, especially for those who view this site before that first cup of coffee. To stick to the essentials: it had to do with an English woman named Davina Chambers, who after bearing three other children opted for an abortion to prevent a fourth. Hours after the "procedure," she found, to her utter horror, that the baby's head -- along with a very recognizable face -- had been left inside of her.

She encountered that face in her bathroom and was beyond distraught, eventually burying the child.

Not quite so remorseful (but equally unpalatable) was an account in July 18 New York Times Magazine of a pro-choice activist, Amy Richards, of Manhattan, who aborted two of three triplets out of sheer, cold, and calculated convenience.

Her account is truly bone-chilling and is an argument in and of itself for immediately outlawing abortion. How this can happen in a civilized country, and be touted in a major newspaper, is baffling even by the standards of an evil time.

Let's call it what it is: evil. And let the candidates for office -- let all the judges of this land -- take heed. Such conduct is bringing a judgment upon America. Among the reasons Richards gave for destroying two of the three little lives: she wasn't ready to commit herself to the necessary bed rest, she would have trouble with the stairs, and eventually the economics of it all would have condemned her to a family lifestyle, which was not of her liking. She would have to leave her beloved Greenwich Village.

"Not only would I have to be on bed rest at 20 weeks, I wouldn't be able to fly after 15," Richards wrote with no regrets. "I was already at eight weeks. When I found out about the triplets, I felt like: It's not the back of a pickup at 16, but now I'm going to have to move to Staten Island. I'll never leave my house because I'll have to care for these children. I'll have to start shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise. Even in my moments of thinking about having three, I don't think that deep down I was ever considering it. I lecture at colleges, and my biggest months are March and April. I would have to give up my main income for the rest of the year. There was a part of me that was sure I could work around that. But it was a matter of, Do I want to? I looked at [my boyfriend] and asked the doctor: 'Is it possible to get rid of one of them? Or two of them?' The obstetrician wasn't an expert in selective reduction, but she knew that with a shot of potassium chloride you could eliminate one or more."

Richards announced the decision -- a shot of potassium chloride to the hearts of the two unborn babies -- while she and her boyfriend were enjoying a night out at a Boston Pops.

If she were faced with the situation again, she would do the same thing, Richards informs us. But twins she might keep. Then again, she might not.

She had honestly admitted to the real reason why many women abort: because they don't want to infringe on their own lifestyles.

Contrast that with a wonderful account that is guaranteed to astonish you. It's long and from our mailbag, written by another woman in England -- a hero -- named Sue Burton, who hails from Gainsborough in Lincolnshire. Read it at your leisure. Share it with friends -- and politicians. You'll never regret it! Writes Sue:

In 1997 I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Fortunately this is a slow cancer and so it was in early stages. I received treatment, and had to go back to the hospital every six months for tests and examinations. In 1999, I needed more treatment. After this a growth was detected in my womb. I was given a date to have further exploratory examinations done. I must admit I was very nervous. My cycle had stopped, but I put this down to what the further treatment had done. One day while praying the Rosary, my mind wandered from meditation and it occurred to me that I actually had all the signs of pregnancy. At that time I already had eight children. Before treatment a pregnancy test was negative, but even so, there was this knowledge, instantly, that I was pregnant. I telephoned my husband at work and asked him to pick up a test. Needless to say, he almost fainted at the prospect. The test was positive and so I saw a doctor and was immediately sent for an emergency scan.

The growth in my womb was in fact a baby. One day I was walking around thinking cancer had spread to my womb and the next, on screen, there I was looking at this new life. I was 14 weeks pregnant, so it made no sense that a test came up negative. Unfortunately the treatment I had damaged the sac that sustained my baby's life and the damage was quite extensive. The doctors told me that there was a good chance I would lose this child. I could not accept this. I had eight beautiful children and it all seemed so natural that you fell pregnant and at the end was a miracle. I took this for granted.

On the ward in hospital, I remember crying and praying. Born or not born, I had seen this little person inside me and the thought of this little person dying was horrific. A nurse or a midwife, I can't remember, walked by and seeing me upset said "Don't worry, you still have other children to go home to." I looked at her and said, "Yes I have and because I have, I know exactly what I am losing." I continued to pray and plead with Our Lord and still with child, by His grace, I went home. I had to bed-rest for three months so the damage to the sac had a chance to heal. It did.

However, at twenty-eight weeks I was readmitted with a suspected blood clot on my lung. Blood tests were done immediately and I was told something was very wrong with my count and that it was surprising I was still alive! The doctor said I needed an immediate blood transfusion. Everything was being set up for this, but just before the procedure began, a nurse told me that a blood transfusion would bring me into labor. I did not let them give me a blood transfusion. Every baby I had was always in the 6.8 pound mark, and at twenty-eight weeks, I knew that there was a good chance my baby would not make it.

They said without the blood transfusion we both would die. But I said if this was so, that it was in God's hands. I could not give permission for any treatment that I knew would kill my child. To me, it would have been murder -- if it happened that we both died, then God Himself deigned it for His own reasons. I certainly felt I had no right to make such a decision. I was not afraid. And it was here that a miracle took place.

I was praying the Rosary and while doing so must have fell a sleep. All I remember is a nurse waking me and I was back on the ward. She asked when I had the transfusion and I was puzzled at her question. I told her I did not. Then she told me that I must have as they had done another blood test and the count was normal. I said that they must have made a mistake with the first test. I thought the matter over. But then a doctor came and said that he did not understand what was going on. I told him there must have been a mistake with the first test and he said that the first sample had been retested; there was no mistake. In fact, this same doctor kept coming over and taking more blood and doing more tests and even authorized scans of my legs to see if there was a clot somewhere else and there was not. I actually had pneumonia. A week later this same doctor came and I asked if I could go home, but he said no because he still did not understand this thing with the blood and I smiled at him and said, lifting my Rosary from under the covers, "I do understand." He smiled and agreed to let me go home as long as I bed-rested.

My ninth baby was born. In fact we thought I was having a girl and had all girl baby clothes. We planned to call her "Jacinta" after Blessed Jacinta [of Fatima] -- but she turned out to be a he! My husband did not like the name Francisco [the other blessed from Fatima]; he wanted our son to be called Luke. He was baptized Luke Francisco. He weighed just 6 pounds 3 ounces, so had I done the blood transfusion, there is no way Luke would have made it. I placed Luke and myself in God's Hands and not the doctors. And I am glad I did. Luke was born in English date term 2/6/2000. Luke 2:6, as it was pointed out to me a long time after his birth, reads, "And she gave birth to... a male child."

In 2001 another examination determined a growth in my womb. This time the growth was not a baby. However before treatment a test showed I was about four weeks pregnant. The growth was near where the baby was and at five weeks I began to bleed. I was taken to the hospital, a scan showed a hemorrhage, and I was told that being so close to the baby, there was no way the baby would survive.

I was having a miscarriage. Under the circumstances this was thought to be a good thing. But not to me. The pregnancy was not planned and my health in general was not good. I was kept in the hospital while they waited for me to lose the baby. I had never had a scan, seen an unborn child at this early stage, and what struck me the most was that the very first visible part of a baby at five weeks is the heart, the heart that represents love. I prayed very much and at the same time witnessed many women having miscarriages. Some were sad, others indifferent. After a couple of weeks I was still bleeding but still very pregnant. The doctors decided I could go home. I was the only woman on two wards that left that hospital still pregnant. Before going home I was spoken to by two doctors; one told my husband and me that losing the baby was inevitable, and as we were leaving a lady doctor wearing a beautiful Miraculous Medal told me that many doctors believed if you remain in bed that a baby can come through this.

I did and everything settled for a while. I had to see a doctor for a check-up and this doctor, knowing I was Catholic, mentioned the word "abortion." I had a growth and this needed to be checked. He said he had to advise this for I was his patient and this was in my best interest. I refused. I did not refuse out of some attempt to be a martyr. It is just that I know my life is no more important that the life of a baby. How could I place me first? It is true that I had nine other children to look after -- but me dying would not mean they would not have been looked after. And I would have made the same choice for each one of them. In fact the only real thing I could focus on was this baby living. I felt guilty that I had allowed myself to get pregnant at all because of the state of my health generally.

From the doctors, it was back to bed. Movement caused bleeding. I spent a great deal of time in bed and this time was one of the most stressful. I could hear Luke cry and want to run to him. I never could be certain that my unborn child was even still alive. I spent most of my time praying. A wonderful priest, my Confessor -- Father Michael Donohue from St. Peter's and St. Paul's Catholic Church in Lincoln, England, came very often to bring me Our Lord and I knew with all certainty that Our Lord would not enter my heart without visiting the heart of this little one. Father Michael helped me so much. I could reveal the state on my soul, all my fears and feelings and state at different times and he would advise me and strengthen me.

Two things I did during this time. The first was to place Holy Water over the area where this miracle lay -- asking God to let this water touch the baby and make it act as in a way to baptize. The other was I wrote a diary. A diary for my children -- to be given to them as they reached adult hood. I addressed it to all the nine born and the one not yet born. I wrote about my life with God from the time of my early childhood to that present day. I wrote about each one of them and how special they are. I told them that I did not want to bring any one of them in to the world to die but to live eternally. I wanted life for them all and my wish was that they live in God always. I did this because I did not know if I was going to live.

Over and over I prayed the same prayer and offered everything up for the same intention, that this child live, grow in holiness, and love Him with his whole heart, and bear much fruit. I prayed to Our Blessed Mother, placing him ( I knew by then I was carrying a boy) in her Immaculate Heart. I dedicated him to the Mother of all mothers in the best way I knew how.

During this time I did not feel alone. One time I could hear Luke crying and then other children arguing. My husband was so tired. Luke did not sleep so well during the night. It hit me that my family might fall apart and I felt so torn -- if I got up to help, I could lose our unborn baby, if I did not, I did not know what would happen. It seemed like the family was becoming close to dysfunctional. I sobbed and I remember thinking 'I am so afraid.' And I am not sure how, but I did tell Father Michael: it was as if I was in or seeing another place. I did not see Our Lady but knew she was there. It was very quick, but as I thought, 'I am so afraid,' straight away I was seeing this place and I heard an audible female voice. It said "Why? When you have the greatest weapon, my Rosary." Then everything went back to normal and I marveled and was left with new understandings, as it seemed to me this Lady answered my thoughts, not my audible voice, and I never perceived the Rosary as a weapon before.

Weeks later, not being brave at all, I did think about the fact that I might die and if I did what would happen to my family. I could hear lots of arguing. I felt somewhat confused. I thought maybe my family might resent the choice I made. I cried like I never cried. I soaked my face and my clothes, and bedding, I sobbed so much.

Then while I cried I remembered that I was not alone. We have a guardian angel with us all of the time. I never really thought about what this actually meant to us before. Still sobbing, this thought did console me and I spoke to my Guardian Angel. I asked this angel to take all the tears that I was shedding and place them at the feet of Our Most Precious Lord Jesus in Heaven and offer them in reparation for the sin of abortion.

Maybe this was my imagination, but I felt the strangest sensation and put my hands to my face and my face in an instant was bone dry. So were my clothes and bedding. It felt as if this angel had done what I had asked, taken all my tears to place at the feet of Our Lord. I remember talking to father about this. And what I promised myself is to always be mindful that Our Loving Father in Heaven places this angel over us and that never again would I forget this angel's presence. After this I began also to ask certain saints to interceded for my unborn son, whom I was determined would be named Francisco in honor of Our Lady's Immaculate Heart and the young boy who lived and prayed to "console Our Lord." I prayed to St. Faustina and to St. Padre Pio and St. Gerard [left]. One time while I was praying I looked up and saw as if in a picture, first a newborn baby, and then St. Padre Pio, just his top half. His hands were clasped together in prayer and his eyes were closed. I seemed to see this saint praying for my unborn child.

The last month of the pregnancy I could get up. I had to be careful as there was a risk of my uterus rupturing. But I was certain by this time that Francisco was going to make it. A lady from America visited the shrine of St. Gerard Majella. She sent me a large cloth with his image on it. She wrote me that in life St Gerard stayed with a pious lady who was with child. On leaving he left his handkerchief. This lady ran to offer it to him, but the saint told her to keep it because she would have need of it.

Before this lady's child was born, St. Gerard went to Heaven. Labor began and there were difficulties -- so much so it looked as if both mother and child were going to die. The lady remembered the handkerchief and called for it. She held onto it and as she did, all the pain of childbirth left her.

So did the complications. The baby was born and both mother and child were in perfect health. This handkerchief today is kept at the shrine in New Jersey. Cloths are made and they are placed on the handkerchief.

I am not certain if this was what brought about the great grace I received on Holy Saturday, 30th March 2002. Two days before I was taken into hospital, ready for the birth. Doctors did not want to induce because of a risk of rupture. My water broke but I did not contract and I was like this for two days. On the 30th I was taken up to the labor ward. There was now concern about the baby. Although I never knew this at the time, I was examined and it seemed there was more than one water bag. The midwife said she could break the second and this would bring on contractions. She asked for my consent. I said yes and was hooked to machines, one to monitor contractions and another the baby's heart beat. Before the procedure was done I looked up and I could not believe what I was seeing.

Above me I saw Our Lord as in the Divine Mercy. He was very large, in that He was the length of the hospital bed. I just looked at Him and shrieked out telling my husband and midwife to look. They did and I saw the midwife shrug and my husband say shshshsh.... and I said, "Can't you see?" He said "no" and I could not believe they could not see. I had this cloth from the shrine of St. Gerard on me. I began to pray. I felt joy, and all I could then focus on was Him. Then I am not certain how, but it was as if there was this communication -- I saw and felt all that was going to happen next -- an instant delivery -- the baby in trouble and I told the midwife and she laughed and said no, you are not even contracting yet. I insisted. But no one would listen. Then I said the baby is coming and I could see this look of concern on my husband's face, like I was going crazy or something. I just repeated the baby is coming now. The midwife did not answer and I just pushed but I felt no pain and she then told me to stop pushing, but I could not. The baby just came so fast, he did not have time to turn for delivery. There was a panic and the midwife buzzed for help. At that moment Francisco was born and he lay not crying or moving. They grabbed him and took him to this table and seemed to be working on him, yet I knew all this would happen and that he was going to live. Francisco was born at exactly 3 p.m., in the afternoon. Eventually this beautiful baby boy was placed in my arms.

Everyone looked at me strangely as I held him. My husband said, "How did you know"? I said, "He showed me. I don't understand why you couldn't see." He had tears in his eyes and he said, "His heart had stopped. Just after they broke your water, his heart stopped." I did not know this part -- just the way he would come and that he had to come this way or he would die. The whole thing took no time at all, and to be honest my focus was on Our Lord.

To me Francisco is a miracle, a gift that by the grace of God is here. I had nine children and never ever had anything happen like this before. At the moment he was born, our children at home were kneeling on our living room floor, praying the second day of the Divine Mercy Novena before the Divine Mercy Image.

I took having children for granted. God taught me by all of this that He does not, that life is a precious gift, and in the womb or in the world it makes no difference -- they matter. He loves them from the time they are conceived,  before they are born. I do not have to say how I feel every time I look at Francisco.

I had to wait a further three months before I could be treated. The growth turned out to be benign. Can you imagine how I would have felt if I had done what the doctor wanted and then discovered the growth was not cancerous?

Francisco was baptized at home. He was consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and placed during a Mass at our house in the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Luke Francisco is now four -- and Francisco Benjamin is two. Each time I look at my children, I now see God's grace and blessings. All children born or unborn are His before they are ours. It is up to us to ensure we look after God's little children.

[Sue's e-mail is here]

Aug 2004

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