An interview with Mildred and Oscar
Can you share your story with us?
Mildred: Oscar and I were expecting our fourth baby – a boy. We were so excited. But when I was 20 weeks along in my pregnancy, the doctors told me that I had a very serious condition, one that was potentially life-threatening. They told me I should have an abortion.
That sounds like it was a huge shock.
Mildred: I was so afraid and confused. I started crying and crying. I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want my baby to die. Everyone was scared. Everybody thought that I should have the abortion. And then I heard a voice in my heart say, “You can find another way.” I felt this enormous force, this enormous hope inside of me.
What did you do with this hope in your heart?
Mildred: I had faith. I wanted to find another way. And I knew that other way was God. My strength is from Him. I told my husband, “I need to see a priest.” And Oscar took my hands and said, “I am with you. I will go with you. If you trust in God, I trust in God.” The next day, we went to the church and told Father Germain everything. And he said, “Trust God. He will make good for you.” And he connected us with the Sisters of Life. The Sisters helped me find another doctor, a specialist, who spoke to me on the phone. They walked with me through my pregnancy.
How did you approach the birth of your baby?
Mildred: I prayed to God a lot. I said, “I want to stay strong for my family. Please, God. You know me. You know my heart.” And I prayed to St. Gianna Molla, who had had a high-risk pregnancy, too, and gave her life for her child. I suffered a lot because I really didn’t know what would happen. I prepared myself that I might die. I was ready to give my life for my baby. But I also had this internal force, this hope, that everything would be ok. Whatever happened, I was in God’s hands.
What happened on the day of your delivery?
Mildred: On the day of my delivery, the Sisters came with my husband and me to the hospital. They sprinkled me with holy water and gave me an image of the Divine Mercy. I remember looking around at all the doctors in the room and praying, “Please, God. Hold the hands of everyone who will be operating on me. I trust in You.” For the whole seven hours of the C-section surgery, I sang a little song I liked: “Give me today the healing promised in Your Word. I need Your love. Give me back hope. Fill me with Your Spirit…”
Our son, Oscarito Leonardo, was born at 30 weeks, at five and a half pounds. They didn’t have to give him any extraordinary care, like they thought; the only thing he needed was an incubator! And nothing happened to me. It was a miracle! I opened my eyes at the end of the surgery and saw myself covered in a white sheet, and I said, “Oh, I’m dead.” But then I looked and saw Sr. Maria Cristina smiling at me. “Mildred, you are very alive!” she said.
What happened after the surgery?
Mildred: The doctors scheduled two follow-up surgeries after the birth, which they expected to be difficult. But the second surgery went really well, and when I went in for the third surgery, the doctors found that I didn’t need surgery after all. It was another miracle!
When you look back, how do you see God at work?
Mildred: When I look back at what happened, I’m amazed. I’m like, “Who is this Mildred? I don’t know who this woman is. I couldn’t be that strong!” But nothing is impossible for God. If you trust in God, nothing is impossible. God was with me. He protected me. He gave me a new mind, a new body. He gave me peace. He gave me everything.
How has this experience changed your marriage and family?
Mildred: This experience brought us closer as a couple…it brought more love, more understanding. I think that if this had not happened to me, I would not have the love I do now. I look at life very different now. Before, life was good in a different way. I would go to parties, go to church every couple of weeks, go with my family to places. But now, God is everything for us. Now I have more peace, more love. I am a better mom, a better wife, a better friend. Everything has changed.
Oscar: I feel like it’s been a rebirth for everybody. We used to be so selfish, without giving God even a moment. I didn’t like to go to church. But now, we can’t live without God. Our daughters are also going to church, and they love it. That is hope. We didn’t have that before. Now, we are even helping other people. The priest at the parish will send us other couples who are having problems, and we share with them our story. We are helping more sheep come to the Shepherd.
What advice would you give others about hoping in God?
Mildred: If you don’t hope in God, you don’t have anything. Hope first in God, and then everything is yours.
Oscar: But you have to be constant. Pray and wait. God has to be before anything else. It’s like having a light in the darkness; you have to put the light before you so it guides you and shows you the path. It’s not easy. Jesus doesn’t say that following Him is easy. He suffered, and we suffer, too. In the beginning, I didn’t have faith that God would protect Mildred. Before I began to pray, I saw it (the pregnancy) as a risk. But we began to pray and trust. And now I say, “With God, nothing is impossible.”
What is your outlook on life?
Mildred: You know, now I enjoy my life. I am very happy, very blessed. I feel like this happened to me for a reason. God had something for me in this. I love my kids with all my heart. I give my life for each one. They are God’s gift to me – a blessing. I always say, “Thanks, God! Thanks for everything. Thanks for blessing me. Thanks for even giving this Cross to me, because You are loving me in it.”
Originally printed in the Winter 2018 issue of Imprint.