In June 2008, I was rushed to the emergency room from an out of town’s OB office.
I had passed out from the pain of my miscarriage. It was a long road following that day including a deep emptiness and fear, which I only discovered after the physical suffering finally relented. We named our baby Peter Thomas and still ask his intercession daily.
From there, we prayed for another baby… only two months later, we conceived!
Sudden and spectacular joy soon was stolen with weeks of bleeding, an episode of a uterine hemorrhage and tons of anxiety. I was on the phone with the nurse or doctor on a weekly, if not daily basis, from the strange happenings and unexpected complications. Countless blood draws, checking of hormonal levels, and waiting. The waiting was unbearable.
I remember going to Our Blessed Mother on an evening in September and begging her to keep my baby safe.
Not long after I began to pray the rosary a lot, with the intention always being for this precious soul I had been entrusted.
After a few months of praying, the bleeding stopped and the fear of loss lessened. I soon realized I was praying on a rosary that had holy water from Fatima contained in it. Since I was due on May 19th, I assumed my child would certainly be born on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13th! Mary had this!
Two months before I was due I began to realize that not having a nursery in our small apartment was presenting a challenge, and in my prayers I inquired with Mary as to what to do. One day, big and pregnant, I marched up to the office at the top of our complex to see if, by chance, they had a bigger place, but at a lesser price… funny, I know!
After lots of clickity clacking on the computer and retrying again and again to figure out how there could be “such a crazy deal” going on, the manager declared, “OK, then, I have a much larger place for you with an extra room and bigger everything. It will only cost $7 more per month, but you have to move in 3 days. It’s apartment 513.” It was APARTMENT 513! Like 5/13, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima! There she was, showing up, handing me my first nursery for my baby.
We moved 3 days later with the generous help of University Catholic students.
After we moved into our new, larger apartment, and one month before I was due I was sitting in Mass and recognized a lady I had spoken to numerous times on the phone at work, but had never met. I found her after Mass, and, being as large as I was, she asked when I was due. I told her “the 19th, but I am certain I will deliver on the 13th because Our Lady of Fatima has been watching over this baby.” This woman began to tell me that “Our Lady of Fatima is at my house right now!” She had the traveling statue of OLF, and I wanted her in my house, but even though she insisted the waiting list was too long, she took my number.
The traveling statue of OLF arrived at my home 2 days after I delivered Gabriel Patrick. Gabriel was born on May 10th, which in 2009, was Mother’s Day… yet another gift! When the doctor handed him over to be weighed, the nurse yelled from across the room, “5 pounds, 13 ounces!” My child was marked with Our Lady’s numbers yet again. I began to cry.
We named him Gabriel because we thought it the best Marian name for a boy, since that was the angel who delivered the message of the Incarnation to Our Blessed Mother.
The massive statue of Our Lady of Fatima (which, by the way, totally freaked out my Protestant friends coming to meet Gabriel) was with me for the first week of my motherhood. At the end of the week, I knew she was about to be picked up, and I felt sorrowful. I told her I wished she could stay longer… within minutes, my phone rang, my answering machine picked up (remember answering machines?) and the woman’s voice said, “Kristi, this is the Legion of Mary. Unfortunately, we can not come get Our Lady tomorrow. She would like to stay with you another week.” I was floored.
I continue to see the numbers 513 in really important moments. My son, Gabriel, has been told the story of how Our Lady of Fatima watched over him… and still does. She loves us in all the ways a mother should; the small details, the practical human expressions, and she intercedes for us and answers the prayers that are in the very depths of our hearts. She is and always will be my girl.