38-year-old Malinda found out that she was pregnant after being told that she could never conceive and bear a child. Because of significant health challenges, she was advised to terminate the pregnancy, but she was determined to bring her child to life. She had a premonition that she wouldn't survive the pregnancy, and she told the baby’s father: “I'm not going to make it. You’re going to have to fight for our child.” When Malinda and Chris discovered that they were expecting a boy, they decided to name their son "Christopher Ruben" as a namesake for Chris, the dad, and Ruben, Malinda's father.
21 weeks into her pregnancy, Malinda suffered a massive stroke. After placing her on life support, the doctors declared she was beyond medical hope of recovery. Devastated by this news and the sudden grief, the family requested that the hospital keep Malinda on life support in an attempt to save the baby and bring Christopher Reuben to a safe point of delivery.
This had never been done before in the State of Idaho. The hospital had no experience to draw on, and sought a transfer to another medical center that might be more suited to the case. Turned down by four other hospitals, a team of doctors at St. Alphonsus in Boise bravely ventured into uncharted territory, honored the request of the family, and pledged to do everything in their power to save Baby Christopher.
When family members reached out to Stanton Healthcare of Boise, we came alongside the family to provide support. Their greatest need was prayer, and we quickly mobilized a prayer chain that soon had people around the world interceding for Baby Christopher. In addition, we were able to share information on how people could donate to help alleviate the mounting financial burden of the family.
On Sunday, February 4, we organized a Prayer Vigil for Baby Christopher on the property of the hospital and over a hundred family, friends, and members of our community came to show their support for Baby Christopher. Faith leaders and civic leaders alike offered up prayers for Baby Christopher who had reached the 23 week milestone only the day before.
Less than five hours later due to declining oxygen levels, the doctors made the decision to deliver Baby Christopher Ruben. He came into the world with a cry that could be heard out in the hallway much to the surprise of the staff for a 1 lb. 1 oz. little guy! Our little miracle is now in the NICU where he has a long road ahead of him. He's shown good grip, squeezing his grandmother's finger. And he is drinking milk, even peeing on the nurses a few times!
And yet, while we celebrate and continue to intercede for Baby Christopher, our hearts break for his family as they are making arrangements for a funeral. They welcomed one life into their family and said goodbye to another. We continue to pray for strength and health for Baby Christopher, and we pray for comfort and grace for his family.
On Sunday evening, Christopher's grandfather, Ruben, remarked to me that his grandson was a "Super Bowl baby". I thought that was pretty cute. I guess Super Bowl Sunday will always be special for Christopher Ruben growing up. He is a Super Bowl baby. And Malinda is a superhero mom--a mother who bravely sacrificed herself for her child--who in death, incubated her son to life.
This is not just a historical medical case or a most noble cause. This is a child. This is a son, a grandson, a nephew, and a cousin. This is one of us. This is a mother's legacy. And we honor her sacrifice.