Judie Brown
Isaac, Rebecka, and baby Isaiah May: A legacy of love and courage
By Judie Brown
March 15, 2010

On January 25, we reported on the case of baby Isaiah James May. He was born oxygen-deprived, because the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, and he suffered brain damage as a result. http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/cbc/100119/science/canada_edmonton_edmonton_child_court_rules_ventilator_not_removed A legal battle ensued, pitting his parents, Isaac and Rebecka May, against the hospital, after they were informed that his ventilator would be removed. The Mays went to court and obtained two rulings that permitted Isaiah to remain on the ventilator until March 12, while they sought an independent medical assessment of Isaiah's chances of recovery. As it happened, Isaiah died on March 11, in his parents' arms and surrounded by aunts, uncles and grandparents.

Alberta-based disability advocate Mark Pickup commented in his blog, http://www.humanlifematters.org/

    The Mays wanted to give Isaiah 90 more days to see if he would improve but the hospital wouldn't budge. ... [With the help of the justice system,] Isaac and Rebecka sought an independent second, third and fourth medical opinion of baby Isaiah's prognosis. They overturn[ed] every stone of possibility to give their baby a chance. It was only when Isaiah's hopeless situation became clearly evident, with independent medical input kindly presented to them, did they finally agree to let Isaiah's respirator be turned off.

And then, this past Friday, LifeSiteNews reported the following from the Mays: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/mar/10031211.html

    "We held out hope that there would come a time when we might see [Isaiah's] smile and hear his laugh," the Mays related in a statement, read yesterday by their lawyer, Rosanna Saccomani. "Over these last four months, we have cherished every moment with our son. We have marvelled at the perfection of his hands and feet and face... at the color of his eyes and the shade of his hair. We have wondered who he most resembled."

    "All along it was our hope that Isaiah's condition would brighten and improve. It has not," they continued. "The decision that has now been made may be incomprehensible. But it has been made knowing that we did everything possible to find meaningful answers to our questions and that all reasonable alternatives were fully explored and carefully considered."

    "We very much believe that life is a gift from God and that our son's inherent value and worth as a human being is not diminished by the number of days recorded in this world," they added. "Isaiah has reminded all of us once again that life is very precious and fragile."

    "We have set our tiny miracle free and he is now home in the arms of the angels."

Dr. Paul Byrne, a Catholic neonatologist, past-president of the Catholic Medical Association, author and expert in the subject of brain death http://www.all.org/article.php?id=10164 , had been advising the Mays. He told LSN that he believes the hospital did not provide appropriate care for baby Isaiah, and it is for reasons we should all be made aware:

    The Mays were told shortly after arriving at Stollery, he said, that Isaiah was "brain dead," and that he would no longer be treated. Dr. Byrne pointed out, as one example, that despite the standard practice of performing a tracheostomy when a patient is intubated for more than a week or so, the hospital had refused the Mays' request for the procedure.

    Dr. Byrne also observed that the diagnosis of "brain death" often "is made, first of all, to get organs." "The diagnosis of brain death is made to stop treatment, and the parents continued to say that they wanted their baby treated," he said. "I think that the culture is such that the parents had to be strong, and they have to be loving parents to be strong in the culture of death in which we live."

A Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=167085117294&ref=ts that the family set up to share their experience now relays heartbreak, but also a deep faith in God. On Saturday, a post from a family friend read,

    I spoke with Becky [Rebecka May] this morning as they prepared to go to Isaiah's funeral. Becky and Isaac are both being so strong. Becky had prepared a letter to read at the funeral, and we thought it would be nice to share it with everyone who had shared this experience with them, from family and friends to complete strangers (who have since become like family). So many people opened up their hearts to Isaiah, Becky and Isaac, offering support and prayers. It is truly overwhelming. So here it is, in Becky's words:

    When Isaiah passed and we started planning the funeral arrangements I knew that I wanted to write something to say at the service. But what? What do you say at your baby's funeral? What can you say? So I'm writing from my heart to say how much I love him.
Isaiah, from the moment I knew that you were inside of me I cherished you. And as you grew and I got to feel every little move, every hiccup and stretch, it all meant so much. ... I never thought that I would lose you, and even if I knew, I wouldn't change having you, knowing you and loving you. I will miss you so much, my angel. You took a piece of my heart, but I know that I have a piece of yours. Will you wait for me at the gates? Will you tell God that I loved you and still do? Will you ask Him questions about me? ... Know that I love you so much, and I will miss you forever. I will miss your chubby cheeks and tiny toes, your little round chin and button nose.

    Isaiah James, you were named after your father, and he loves you so much. He sends a kiss and a hug to you from his heart. Isaiah, you only lived a little while, but wow, what you did. Your name means Gatherer of People, God's Helper, Salvation, and that you did ....

Please send e-mail notes of sympathy to prayersforbabyisaiah@gmail.com.

© Judie Brown


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Judie Brown

Judie Brown is president and co-founder of American Life League, the nation's largest grassroots pro-life educational organization... (more)


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