Health & Spirit

Light Notes: This mother couldn't breathe. Would she live to see her baby again?

Lucy Luginbill, Tri-City Herald on

Published in Religious News

Code blue! Code blue!

-- "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take ... "

A rush of footsteps filled the hospital hallway, racing toward the young mother's bedside.

-- "... but by the moments that take our breath away."

Across town, a 3-week old baby and two young daughters wait, the beloved quote hanging silently in their home -- while her life hung in the balance.

Connie Snodgrass knows well the breath she's been given -- the strength she reached for in those moments, and the journey that followed.

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"I'd had difficulty breathing, short of breath," Connie said, reflecting how her life-threatening situation began. "I thought, 'I'm old -- 38 -- for having babies. And I'm out of shape, that's a given.' But no, I was full of cancer! That's why I couldn't breathe -- but we didn't know that."

There had been worry enough before little Madeline Grace was born; years earlier cholestasis,a common liver disease that only happens in pregnancy, had taken one baby girl at birth, a heartbreaking event that still makes Connie weep. But with a healthy delivery this time, a new love in her arms and husband Steve by her side, any concerns about shortness of breath were pushed aside.

Tiny pink dresses, soft receiving blankets and a welcoming rocking chair awaited. But in little more than two weeks after settling in at home, Connie was in crisis, diagnosed with rare metastatic choriocarcinoma -- a cancer even more rare after a full-term pregnancy.

A plea for prayer circled the globe.


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