It was just about a year ago when the normal life of Stephen and Christy Kelley turned upside down. Already the parents of two, the New London minister and his wife were expecting their third child. But 23 weeks into the pregnancy Christy came down with what they thought was the flu. Symptoms so bad they headed to Tyler's Mother Frances Hospital emergency room.
"They took me out of the room and said we need to get her to a place that can handle this better than we can. I said so what's going on? We don't really know but we think her heart is shutting down," remembers Stephen.
In what the couple describe as a whirlwind, Christy was quickly put on a helicopter in route to Baylor Hospital in Dallas. For Stephen, despite years in the ministry he found himself at a loss. Thankful for a hospital chaplain that knew what to do.
"Each time I started to break down this pastor, this chaplain would pray with me. We prayed with the doctor. We walked in to see her in ICU. I stepped in, talked to her for a few minutes and then I had to step out and he prayed with me again. We prayed with her before she got on the helicopter and that was the last I saw of, I believe his name was Charles," says Stephen.
As for Christy, in those first moments and again later in Dallas, her thoughts were with her unborn son.
"And I really thought I was dying," remembers Christy, " I really thought that it was over. And I kept telling Stephen let me die, save Gavin. Just let me die. Because I pretty much thought it was going to be him or me and I wanted him to have a chance."
At first the Dallas doctors were as baffled as the ones back in Tyler. All they knew. Christy's heart was shutting down. One side had completely stopped working, the other only pumping at 5 percent of capacity.
"I've seen people when they've just died and there is a certain that people have. And I walked in and she had that look. That very gray, pasty, sunken in, you know and I walked in and my heart sank. I remember sitting there in that waiting room and the doctor comes in and the first question that comes out of my mouth is, what are my wife's chances?. And he said as a doctor you don't want my opinion. I've been doing this for to long. But he said I tell you what, the only thing that is going to allow your wife to walk out of here is Hebrews 11:1. And on any other day I could have told you exactly what that verse was. And he goes Hebrews 11:1 is the definition of faith. He said that is the only thing that is going to allow your wife to walk out of here," says Stephen.
In the days to come doctors would determine it was virus that had attacked Christy's heart. Very rare, especially in pregnant women. Also almost unheard of was the speed Christy's recovery. Within days she was back to normal. Confounding doctors but reaffirming what the Kelley's had felt all along.
"I'll never go into a hospital room the same way again," says Stephen, "the most important thing is that you give them whatever they need. And sometimes that is just being there in the room. That prayer, that touch and being a lot more sensitive to what that person is going through. Because now I've been there and its more of an empathy that I can share with them. I was a front row seat person that got to watch her be healed and it was a miraculous thing. When the head cardiologist walks up says we have no medical explanation why your wife is progressing this fast. I got to look at her and say I know why because people are praying for her."