Monday, July 31, 2006

Dallas as the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana
She was still groggy from surgery.
Her husband, David, held her hand as they braced themselves for the
latest news.
That afternoon of March 10, 1991 , complications had forced Diana, only
24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency Cesarean to deliver couple's
new daughter, Dana Lu Blessing.
At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound nine ounces, they already
knew she was perilously premature.

Still, the doctor's soft words dropped like bombs.

"I don't think she's going to make it," he said, as kindly as he could.
"There's only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and
even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a
very cruel one"

Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described
the devastating problems Dana would likely face if she survived.
She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be
blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from
cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on.

"No! No!" was all Diana could say.

She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of
the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four.
Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away
But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana.
Because Dana's underdeveloped nervous system was essentially 'raw', the
lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they
couldn't even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the
strength of their love.

All they could do, as Dana struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet
light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to
their precious little girl.

There was never a moment when Dana suddenly grew stronger.

But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here
and an ounce of strength there.

At last, when Dana turned two months old, her parents were able to hold
her in their arms for the very first time.

And two months later, though doctors continued to gently but grimly
warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal
life, were next to zero, Dana went home from the hospital, just as her mother
had predicted.

Five years later, when Dana was a petite but feisty young girl with
glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life.
She showed no signs whatsoever of any mental or physical impairment.
Simply, she was everything a little girl can be and more. But that happy ending
is far from the end of her story.

One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving Texas , Dana was sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a
local ball park where her brother Dustin's baseball team was practicing.
As always, Dana was chattering nonstop with her mother and several
other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms
across her chest, little Dana asked, "Do you smell that?"
Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana
replied, "Yes, it smells like rain."
Dana closed her eyes and again asked, "Do you smell that?"
Once again, her mother replied, "Yes, I think we're about to get wet.
It smells like rain."
Still caught in the moment, Dana shook her head, patted her thin
shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced,
"No, it smells like Him.
It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest."

Tears blurred Diana's eyes as Dana happily hopped down to play with the
other children. Before the rains came, her daughter's words confirmed what Diana and
all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their
hearts, all along.

During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life,
when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding
Dana on His chest and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.

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