The Shehab Family: A Witness to Life

The Shehab Family:  A Witness to Life
AmyShehab_Photo_1

My doctor told us: “You have a decision to make.”

Mrs. Amy Shehab and her husband, Edward, are long-time friends of the friars and supporters of the Rosary Shrine of Saint Jude.  Here is Amy’s incredible account of Saint Jude’s intercession during her trying pregnancy:

The opportunity to share our story is a way for my husband, Edward, and me to tell of a time when we were in great need of God’s support, His grace, and indeed, His strength.  Regardless of the outcome of our baby’s test results, we knew our family would be fine.  Our lives would just be very different.  Challenging, certainly.  We sincerely hope that our story provides inspiration and hope for those who are in need, regardless of their situation.

Shock, fear, and guilt are certainly understatements for our initial reaction to the results of a blood test during the second trimester of my pregnancy.

My doctor called with the results as I was driving my son, Eddie, age 5, to tennis practice, and I nearly drove my car right into the lake!  Pregnant with our second child at 39, we opted to partake in one of the many blood screening tests that are now available to pregnant women. SequentialScreen is the test we chose. It is a two-part test that screens for fetal Down Syndrome, trisomy 18, and open neural tube defects.  Many factors are taken into account; age is one of them. Although I felt very confident having passed the first test at 12 weeks, the results of the second test at 16 weeks indicated that there was a one in three chance that our baby would have Down Syndrome.

My doctor told us, “You have a decision to make.”

Abortion was never an option.  Our child is a gift from God and we were moving forward with the pregnancy regardless of the results of the amniocentesis.  Certainly it was terrifying to have my doctor, who was very concerned, warn me of a “whole spectrum of issues” as it relates to Down Syndrome.  I was on my knees, morning, noon, and night, praying to Saint Jude.  It helped me to remember my grandmother and my mother’s faith.  The grace and strength they received in praying to Saint Jude daily, in particular the weeks before my mom passed away from multiple myeloma, was profound.  My husband and I found tremendous comfort through prayer and the lighting of votive candles at the Rosary Shrine of Saint Jude.  We promised Saint Jude we would incorporate his name into our child’s name.

By God’s grace, our healthy baby girl, Paige Jude, was born on February 1, 2013.  The crowning moment was watching our son as he saw his sister for the first time.  Our beautiful family was complete.

Just days after returning home from the hospital with Paige, a blessed Saint Jude medal was sent to us by the Dominican Friars.  It was profoundly moving to receive such a gift after all we had been through, and it was clearly confirmation of the power of my mom’s faith and our family’s faith in God and Saint Jude.

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