Our Homes, Our Families

Saving Christopher

By Karen Anderson

The author lived in Minnesota, USA, but passed away while this issue was being prepared.

Listen Download Print Share

Our grandson was not breathing. When doctors finally revived him, he began having seizures.

baby in incubator

Photo illustration from Photodisc/Thinkstock

Our daughter’s third pregnancy had been difficult, and she went into labor prematurely at home. After a hurried call to the doctor, Kathy and her husband, Tony, sped to the hospital. As they pulled up to the emergency room, their doctor raced through the snow to meet them.

An emergency cesarean section was performed quickly. Baby Christopher was not breathing. When the doctors revived him, he began having seizures.

Arriving at the hospital’s intensive care unit nursery, I saw the discouraged look in Tony’s eyes. As he related the news, I felt terror rip into my heart. I also thought of the impact this would have on my daughter and son-in-law, who were not members of the Church.

Shortly thereafter, my husband, Gary, arrived with a member of our bishopric, Brother Carlson. We held a family conference with the frightened mother and quiet father. Kathy implored her father to give her baby a blessing.

After scrubbing and donning sterile clothing, Gary and Brother Carlson entered the intensive care unit, where medical personnel labored to keep Christopher alive. Although none of the medical personnel were Latter-day Saints, all action and noise in the unit stopped as they respectfully watched the ordinance. As Gary placed his hands on Christopher’s head, the baby twitched strongly once, and then the seizures ended. The blessing continued, and a feeling of peace came into our hearts. We felt reassured by the words of the blessing, which promised help for Christopher and hope for his family.

As everyone settled down, my husband suggested that Tony go home to care for his other two sons and tell them what had happened. I also left for home. Gary stayed with Kathy.

The day’s events had overwhelmed me, and as I climbed into my car, I began to cry. I asked the Lord to help me with my fear and weak faith. Immediately, the third verse of the hymn “How Firm a Foundation” (Hymns, no. 85) came to mind:

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,

For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.

I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, …

Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

Peace entered my heart, and the Lord answered my prayer in a very direct way. I felt impressed to go home and pray for my grandson to be healed. When I reached home, I knelt by my bed and poured out my heart to my Heavenly Father. Comfort from the Holy Ghost entered the room, and I knew that God had heard my prayer. I realized that our family had been and would continually be blessed by the priesthood’s healing power. I didn’t know if Christopher would be healed, but I did know that the Lord would help our family through this challenge.

Much later my husband returned home. He reported that he had also felt the presence of the Holy Ghost and that Kathy said she had too. We knew that whatever happened was the Lord’s will and that we must be strong enough to accept it.

Christopher underwent more testing after a long weekend. We waited anxiously until the doctors finally filed into the hospital room looking sober—yet puzzled.

“We don’t know what to say,” one finally said. “We can’t find any evidence of the seizures. They may come back, but for now they are gone. Similar instances usually cause extensive brain damage, but Christopher is acting like a normal little baby. We just can’t explain it.”

Looking across the room at one another, we smiled, grateful for the priesthood’s healing power.

Later that day, Kathy’s doctor, who described himself as an agnostic, came back to see her. He explained that, logically, Christopher should have suffered extensive brain damage. Kathy just smiled at him and said, “You don’t understand. He is a miracle.” The doctor studied the floor for a long time. Finally, he looked at her, admitted that she was right, and thoughtfully added, “There is just no other way to explain it.”

Today Christopher is a healthy adult, and the only negative consequence of those intense seizures—as far as we know—is that he has some reading impairments. In many ways our family has witnessed the Lord’s power made manifest through priesthood blessings.