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How God Comforts

God comforts in many ways, and James and Jill Kilibarda of Minnesota have discovered one of those ways.

Looking forward to the birth of their first child, the couple learned during the pregnancy that this baby had a genetic problem and would probably only live a few hours after her birth.

They turned to a unique prenatal hospice program to help guide them through this crisis and received needed guidance and help. The Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota in Minneapolis provided them direction and stood by them through this difficult time.

Hospital nurse Raquel Beucher set up special classes on childbirth education. She checked on the parents during the birth of baby Alaina, visited in the waiting room with their families, and arranged for them to meet with a neonatologist.

Peter Lund, hospice chaplain, built a bridge of communication with the parents. He called on them in their home. He "made them think a great deal about God's role" in the situation.

Alaina lived through her first night and became among the 10 percent of these babies who live beyond two months of age. She will probably die before reaching preschool age.

The Kilibardas have returned to a normal life; both are back to work and take turns caring for Alaina. Hospice workers encouraged the Kilibardas to make memories with Alaina. These parents have carried their daughter to the homes of their friends, large family get-togethers, and even to the coffee shop they frequent.

James Kilibarda shared why he looked to the hospice program. "I want to go through this with my eyes open. I want to feel every ounce of pain, of happiness, because if I avoid it now, it will come back to bite me. I want to experience grace. What does that mean, because it's such a vague term?" His voice cracked. "I'm still trying to figure it out. I think I'll experience it when this event comes complete, when she passes."

Added Jill, "When we were expecting Alaina, people would say, 'You're in our prayers.' But people were praying…to make it all better for us." And then this mother opened her heart, "We weren't asking, 'Make it all better.' God doesn't come down and touch you to heal you. He sends people to be with you."

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