47 hours with a prince

“Your husband isn’t with you?” The doctor looked concerned. Hannah
Boland had decided to go alone for her follow-up appointment.

BY {related_entries id=”alternate_author”}47 hours with a

July 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “Your husband isn’t with you?” The
doctor looked concerned. Hannah Boland had decided to go alone for her
follow-up appointment.

Only a short while before, a pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage. But this
pregnancy was different. They were out of the danger zone. The baby was
already twenty weeks gestation. Alison and Harry, Hannah’s two toddlers,
aged three and two respectively, were going to have another sibling.

“I like having the husband or partner present in these sorts of
situations. We detected a problem with your baby’s scan,” the doctor
continued. “There seems to be a problem with his brain.”

An information sheet was pushed in front of Hannah.

The baby’s brain had not developed, the doctor explained. The condition
could not be altered. It was unlikely he would be born alive. If he survived
birth, he would have a few, short, painful moments to live.

“I was in total shock,” Hannah told LifeSiteNews, “This sort of thing
happens to other people.”

Hannah and her husband, Michael, both devout Christians, raise their family
in a semi-rural area outside Sydney, Australia. Michael is the sole
breadwinner, working as a mechanic who specializes in elevators. Hannah is
a stay-at-home mom, who was taking care of their two toddlers at the time of
the diagnosis.

This diagnosis put her faith to the test.

The couple’s main struggle was how to cope with the uncertainties that lay
ahead. But Hannah says the Bible gave them hope. She clung to the passage,
“He will not tempt you beyond your strength.”


Abortion was never an option for the Bolands. “With our first child, we
went through those questions because they can do prenatal testing.”
Those tests were “a waste of time,” she said. “We knew that that was
not something God would want us to do…Who are we to say that that person
is not worthy to live?”

Almost every doctor they met recommended an abortion. Hannah says one doctor
said at a consultation, “Tell me why I am here? I don’t even know why
I am here. There is no hope for your baby. No. None. There is a 99.9
per cent chance of your baby dying right after he is born. It is likely
that he will just gurgle a little and then die. I won’t even be present
at his birth; there is no point.”

The doctors also thought there was no point in giving the baby oxygen in the
event that he lived after birth. One doctor suggested simply letting the
baby starve.

Prayers and tears were all the couple was left with. They loved their son
and wanted what was best for him. They had to decide on their own what
that would mean.

In the end they decided to feed, love and serve him. The one real struggle
was resuscitation. Was it in his best interest to bring him back? Their
final decision: “We would not do anything intentionally to end Stephen’s

The birth took three days. When Stephen was born, “he stunned the
theater staff with his loud, healthy cry. It was a far cry from the
gurgling, dying cry they had expected to see,” Hannah recounted in a book
she later published about her son.

Their son looked healthy and beautiful. Tears rolled down Michael’s
cheek and family members trickled in and out to meet and cuddle the new
baby. Stephen’s brother and sister were excited to meet him, but too
young to fully process what was going on. They only understood that he was
very sick.

Hours later, Stephen began to fuss, a signal that it was feeding time. The
nurses inserted a feeding tube through Stephen’s nose. It seemed to
nourish and settle him.

“He was feeding. He was well. I was going to be able to bring him home
and take care of him!” Hannah wrote.

However, the initial signs were misleading. Stephen began spitting up his
food and it became apparent that he was not assimilating any nutrition. It
was only a matter of time.

Hannah recounts being tired and frazzled, not knowing how to handle a child
that was slipping away. Her husband showed her how. He gently took his
son and said, “Well, mate, you’re still here for a reason. And as long
as you are still here, I am going to serve you as best I can.” He cradled
him and swabbed his dry lips.

It was a time to be completely selfless, which Hannah admits was difficult
especially after the long labor. She is ashamed to recount, “Here was my
son dying, suffering, and once again all I could think about was how it was
hard on me.”

During short intervals Stephen stopped breathing, but would revive again and
again. After several hours of cradling Stephen, Michael turned to his
wife. Their son was gone. He slipped away in the arms of his father, close
to his mother. He had arrived at his final destination. In some ways,
their journey had only just begun.

This month marks the one-year anniversary of Stephen’s birth. Hannah has
written an account of his life, 47 Hours with a Prince, and is training to
be a Christian Counselor.

“I want to help people in the way I have been helped,” she says,
explaining that a Christian Counselor helped her though the many months of
grieving that followed the death of Stephen. She hopes to help those with
emotional illness, noting, “the emotional side of us is just as prone to
illness as any part of us.”

There are many messages she wants to give, and one is about acceptance.
“We have to look at things through God’s eyes or you are going to make
decisions that you are going to regret.”

As for the book, it has met with success in Hannah’s mind. “I have
non-Christian friends coming away saying they will give deep consideration
to it.”


Michelle Joseph
t. 011 648 5860
m. 082 609 6919

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