PARAGUAY, Julia Troche and Daniel Ávila •
This story began on 20 August 2016, which until now, has been the most significant one in my life, rather our lives, because I want to include my whole family.
On a winter’s Saturday, at six in the morning, I was taken to the operating room after thirty long days of confinement to give birth to my third child, a boy, after having two girls.
We never imagined that our little one would be born with a congenital defect called esophageal atresia, which in short means, the esophagus stops growing and does not connect with the stomach.
We did not know the diagnosis until that night when the telephone in our room rang and they called Dani (my husband) to go to intensive care. They told him about the case and they told him that my little one of 2,500 kilos needed surgery, and we did not know if he would survive.
My eyes remained fixed on that phrase
My heart needed a huge hug that only the Blessed Mother could give me. I hugged the Blessed Mother strongly, and I began to cry. At the same time, I opened the At-risk Babies Campaign’s little book looking for some words of comfort, whatever they might be, I needed to read something, and my eyes remained fixed on the phrase that the baby said: “Do not cry mother…I Am Alive.” With that phrase she gave me strength for everything that was to come.
The operation was a success, but he would need a second surgery to finish the work of joining the organs.
Your real Mother will take care of you
Thus, we began to go through endless days in intensive care, by the Blessed Mother’s hand. Every night when we had to leave him there alone, with the fear that some device on his body would stop working, we would whisper in his ear that now his real Mother would take care of him. We would bid him farewell holding hands and praying, imploring God our Father to allow his son Jesus and our Mother to remain at his side every night. While I did my part holding on to the Rosary, the same Rosary that I never wanted to pray, it was at this moment that I prayed it the most, and it seemed so short that I could start it again.
They were some very hard times, which we lived one day at a time, accompanied and strengthened by the prayers of so many people united to us.
I consecrate his eyes, his ears
One day, the doctor informed us that the after effects that I did not know existed could appear in the head, the hips, or on other parts of the body. Then as the second surgery approached, Dani and I decided to consecrate him to the Blessed Mother. We changed the consecration prayer saying: We consecrate this day…his eyes…his ears…his tongue…his entire self… We prayed that her hands would guide the doctor’s and protect him with her mantle.
Today after two and a half months of confinement, Totó can eat, walk, play and he does not have any lasting effects. He is at home, healthy, and showing us daily the greatest miracle we have ever experienced. It is true that God’s time is perfect!
I did not take it seriously, but she did
First of all, she gave me brothers/sisters who with our similarities and difference walked with us on this long road. What would we have done without them?
Secondly, she helped me to seal a Covenant with my Mother, which perhaps I had not taken very seriously until the day that Tomás was born, but she did. She taught me “that those who remain firm in their Covenant of Love will never perish.”
Thirdly, she gave me a Home Shrine that was my refuge, my peace, my strength, where there were days that I only needed to kneel there…without speaking, allowing her to show me her presence…her covenant.
Original: Spanish. 27 January 2018. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA