“Could Jonathan Survive?” Ensign, July 2000, 60–61
“You should prepare yourselves to lose this child,” the doctor told my husband and me.
On 16 December 1982, I had given birth by C-section to identical triplet boys nearly 11 weeks premature, and doctors had given them less than a 50-percent chance of survival. For several weeks we had watched them struggle, and finally Joseph and Jacob had begun to make progress. But Jonathan, who had been the largest at birth—2 pounds, 14 ounces—had dropped to 1 pound, 1 ounce, and was still on a respirator. Some of his veins had collapsed, and he was not digesting milk.
My husband, Jeff, had given me priesthood blessings during my pregnancy and immediately before delivery, but he had not yet administered to the babies. I believe we put it off because our desires were so strong for the babies’ survival and Jeff did not want to bless them with health contrary to Heavenly Father’s will.
But now we knew the time had arrived to give Jonathan and his brothers a blessing, regardless of the outcome. If Heavenly Father wanted Jonathan to return to Him after only a few weeks of life, we needed to accept that with faith and courage. Desiring to involve someone who was spiritually in tune but less personally attached, we asked Bishop John Ball to help with the blessings.
Jeff and Bishop Ball first administered to Joseph and Jacob. The blessings assured each of them that Heavenly Father had special missions in store for them, and we felt relieved and joyful.
Then it was Jonathan’s turn, and fear gripped my heart as we entered the critical-care nursery. But I felt I was prepared to accept Heavenly Father’s will concerning Jonathan’s life.
As Bishop Ball began the blessing, he said that Jonathan’s mission had been to come to this earth to gain a body. Then he paused.
Horrified, I thought they were going to release Jonathan from this life. I wanted to ask them to stop the blessing. I wanted to open my eyes in case it was time for Jonathan to draw his last breath. But I managed to keep my head bowed and my eyes closed as I stood next to Jonathan’s isolette.
Finally Bishop Ball continued. He said that Jonathan’s mission was not only to come here to gain a body. He went on to pronounce a beautiful blessing about Jonathan’s future life, commanding him to be healed.
Such peace filled our souls. Within 48 hours we saw a tremendous change in Jonathan. His lungs and veins opened, and he began to digest two teaspoons of milk every two hours. He quickly regained his place as the largest and strongest of the three boys. The triplets initially had some slight visual and respiratory problems and were a bit delayed in their large-motor development, but they are now healthy teenagers and are able to keep up in school and activities.
We are grateful that it was the Lord’s will for our children to live, and we know assuredly that the priesthood is a powerful gift.