That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only
to undergo an emergency cesarean to deliver the couple's new daughter, Danae Lu Blessing.
At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound and nine ounces, they
already knew that she
was perilously premature. Still, the doctors soft words dropped like bombs. "I don't think that
she is going to make it," he said, as kindly as he could. "There is only a 10-percent chance that
she will make it 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 to the doctor as he described
problems Danae would likely face if she survived. She would never walk. She would never talk.
She would probably be blind. She would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from
cerebal 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.
Through the dark hours of morning, as Danae held onto life by the thinnest
thread, Diana slipped
in and out of drugged sleep, growing more and more determined that their tiny daughter would live...
and live to be a happy, healthy young girl. But David, fully awake and listening to additional dire
details of their daughter's chances of ever leaving the hospital alive, much less healthy, knew he
must confront his wife with the inevitable.
"David walked in and said that we needed to talk about making funeral
remembers, "I felt so bad for him because he was doing everything, trying to include me in what
was going on, but I just would not listen. I couldn't listen."
I said, "No, that is not going to happen, no way! I don't care what
the doctors say! Danae is not
going to die! One day, she will be just fine, and she will be coming home with us!"
As if willed to live by Diana's determination, Danae clung to life hour
after hour, with the help of
every medical machine and marvel her miniature body could endure. But those first days passed,
a new agony set in for David and Diana.
Because Danae'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 against their chests to
offer the strength of their love. All they could do, as Danae 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
There was never a moment when Danae grew stronger. But as the weeks
went by, she did slowly
gain an once of weight here and an once of strength there. At last, when Danae turned two months
old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time. And two months later,
though the doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living
any kind of normal life, were next to zero, Danae went home from the hospital, just as her mother
Today, seven years later, Danae is a petite but feisty little girl with
glittering gray eyes and an
unquenchable zest for life. She shows no signs, whatsoever, of any mental or physical impairments.
Simply, she is everything a little girl can be and more... but that happy ending is far from the end of her
One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving,
Texas, Danae was
sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a local ballpark where her brother Dustin's baseball team
was practicing. As always, Danae was chattering non-stop with her mother and several other adults
sitting nearby when suddenly she fell silent.
Hugging her arms across her chest, Danae asked, "Do you smell that?"
Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, "Yes, it smells like rain."
Danae closed her eyes and again asked, "Do you smell that?"
Once again her mother replied, "Yes, I think we are about to get wet. It smells like rain."
Still caught in the moment, Danae 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 Danae then happily hopped down to play
with the other children before
the rains came. Her daughter's words confirmed 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 Danae's first
two months of her life when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding
Danae on his chest... and it is his loving scent that she remembers so well.