Tony Rossi, Director of Communications
The Impossible Pregnancy
“Pack your bags, get into the hospital right now! You’re having an emergency C-section as
soon as we can clear you,” said the doctor to Shannon Lapp. It was a harrowing time yet
again for the 28-year-old who had miraculously escaped death after enduring both liver
ejection (from a childhood transplant) and meningitis in September 2018 (an incident I wrote
about here a few months ago).
In fact, Shannon’s pregnancy had come as a surprise. She knew that because of her medical
history, getting pregnant and carrying the baby to term would be difficult. That’s one of the reasons that she and her husband Jesse chose to adopt a child, a baby boy they named Luke. But six months after bringing him home, Shannon discovered she was pregnant. She was both excited and terrified because her health issues could once again lead her—and her unborn child—to death’s door.
In her seventh month, Shannon developed a severe itching problem over her entire body. Doctors discovered she had cholestasis, which affects the liver during pregnancy. The liver, of course, was the last bodily organ Shannon needed another problem with. Her condition kept getting worse, so doctors told her she needed the emergency C-section. “We were rushing to the hospital and praying,” she told me during a “Christopher Closeup” interview. “I know we had hundreds of people praying across the world.”
Shannon may have had an advocate praying for her in another world, too. The date all this happened was September 11th, which is meaningful to her family because of Father Mychal Judge, the first person killed on the ground at the World Trade Center site on 9/11. Shannon’s mom Kelly Ann explained, “[Father Mychal] was the priest who blessed Shannon before her liver transplant 28 years ago... He called us and prayed with us over the phone late at night, and then followed Shannon through the years.” The family had prayed for Father Mychal’s intercession during Shannon’s liver problems and meningitis a year earlier. And Shannon even had a vision of him standing at her bedside at that time. Kelly Ann believed that he was now looking out for her daughter once again.
As the emergency C-section began, Shannon was surprised to hear her doctor exclaim, “I don’t know how you got pregnant!” Shannon’s uterus, it turned out, had such severe endometriosis that she shouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place, much less been able to carry a baby to 35 weeks. Though five weeks early, the baby, named Isaac, was born on September 12th at a healthy six pounds, nine ounces. He spent a few days in the NICU, but was cleared to go home with Shannon and Jesse four days later.
Regarding her recent experience, Shannon concluded, “It has strengthened my faith in ways that I can’t even put into words…I’ve come out a stronger person, a stronger wife, mother, daughter, sister. And I think it’s all thanks to God…It took me a long time to get to the point where I needed to surrender. And I genuinely learned from the best, my mom. It took me 28 years to fully surrender to God after watching my mom do it so many times. But I think it can take something big and powerful in your life to realize that you’re not in control. It was difficult, but the moment I [surrendered], there was this sense of peace and calm, and I knew that things would be okay.”
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