Prayer Saves Miracle Baby Jocelyn
After 3 healthy babies, you’d think the fourth pregnancy would be a breeze for Ashley Shirley. But this one was completely different. Instead, the mom of three got the worst news possible. Doctors said her baby girl, Jocelyn, had only half a brain, skeletal dysplasia and would be lucky to live one hour past birth. So, the faithful family turned to God in prayer, asking for a miracle. And they were more than lucky — they were blessed when prayer saved baby Jocelyn!
Doctors Give Bad News
Ashley and Ronnie Shirley were completely shocked when doctors told them at the 20-week ultrasound all may not be well with their baby girl. It got worse a few weeks later when the high-risk doctor confirmed there were major problems with how baby Jocelyn was developing.
“When we went to the high-risk doctor, he said her frontal lobe in her brain was missing, upper and lower extremities were measuring 3 weeks behind and her overall body was measuring 5-6 weeks behind what it should have been.
Her chest cavity was so small, her heart took up half her chest - it wasn't allowing the proper maturity of her lungs. Her femur bones were severely bowed, too. All these things together gave us the diagnosis that she'd be born with Skeletal Dysplasia and that throughout the pregnancy it can become more lethal, but we were praying against it.
We were told her lungs didn't have room to grow and that she wouldn't be born breathing."
Praying For A Miracle
The news was as bad as it could possibly be. Things seemed impossible. But Ashley and Ronnie are youth pastors in the Chattanooga, TN area. They’d seen God at work. And this faithful family knew that nothing is too big for Him!
"We were all praying together, believing God would turn things around,” she said.
Remaining steadfast in prayer, the family knew they still needed to make preparations in case Jocelyn’s survival wasn’t part of God’s will. So, they enlisted the help of Jennifer Wilkerson, a local photographer who volunteers for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. If you’ve never heard of Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, it’s an organization that offers free birth photography to families expecting or experiencing the loss of a baby.
They started with maternity shoot. Then, Jennifer was at the hospital on the beautiful day baby Jocelyn was born. And she was able to capture an incredible miracle!
God Surprises Everyone
Ashley and Ronnie had been told throughout the pregnancy to expect the worst. And difficult times such as these can make even the most faithful question God.
"I trust God and I try to stay in a place where I trust God at all times, but I'm also a human being. When my baby was moving inside me, I began thinking, ‘I'm not going to hear my baby cry.'” Ashley recalled. “Those were very real emotions to me - I was in a very dark place, just trying to hold onto God.”
Doctors had told the couple that baby Jocelyn would not come out screaming like a normal baby would. But as Ashley and Ronnie continued praying throughout the c-section, they got their first glimpse of the glory God had in store for them!
As they pulled little Jocelyn from her mother’s womb, she let out a little whimper. But then, the tiny miracle baby let out a HUGE scream.
And it was music to her anxious parents’ ears!
“When we went into delivery room, all I was trying to do was pray,” Ashley said. “Once I heard her cry and the doctor held her above the sheet and she was screaming, the first thing that came from my mouth was ‘thank you God, thank you God!' He just increased my faith that much more. He's a miracle-working God. I was in complete awe."
But it gets even better!
As Jennifer was there snapping photos, she says her first thought when baby Jocelyn came out was, “That baby’s head looks so big, round and… normal.” She had the same thought about the rest of the body. The chest cavity that was supposed to be too small, the limbs that were supposed to be deformed — all of it looked perfectly normal.
Jennifer wasn’t the only one having these thoughts. Ashley said:
“Her bones were completely straight - legs, arms, completely straight - her chest cavity from the outside looked perfect. It was a miracle of God right in front of us."
Baby Jocelyn had to have extensive testing done, and some further treatments to help with oxygen levels and blood pressure. But through it all, the family has continued to pray, and God has continued to answer!
The sweet little girl is thriving, and is now at home with her family.
The story of the family’s faithfulness and Jocelyn’s miracle birth is so incredible, it’s been spreading like wildfire since Jennifer shared it on her photography Facebook page. Both she and Jocelyn’s family couldn’t be happier — praying that God will be glorified through it all!
“And Jesus said to them, ‘Because you have so little faith.Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’" Matthew 17:20
This little girl surprised everyone by coming back to life after her heart stopped for 12 minutes!
h/t: For Every Mom