On a Gofundme page seeking help with her medical care, 5-month-old Andi-Kate Cunningham is described as a “true miracle from God.”
In a WLTX report her parents, Tessa and Doug Cunningham of Lugoff, South Carolina recalled how they were crushed by news during Tessa’s pregnancy that Andi-Kate had developed a rare condition called congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).
“They told us that she had a 30 percent chance of survival,” Tessa said doctors told her in early meetings.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine says CDH occurs when there is a defect in the diaphragm which is a lining of muscle and fibrous tissue that separates organs in the abdomen from those in the chest. An absent or partially formed diaphragm causes an abnormal opening (hernia) which causes the stomach and intestines to move into the chest cavity and crowd the heart and lungs. When this happens it can cause underdevelopment of the lungs and potentially life-threatening breathing difficulties.
Before Andi-Kate was outside of her mother’s womb however her church family at Radiate Church in Columbia led by Pastor Brandon Goff began praying for her.
“They’re a part of our family, and when somebody in your family gets sick or tragedy happens, you support them, you don’t just run away,” Goff told WLTX.
One Sunday in July, they prayed nonstop for 12 hours.
“We stayed there all 12 hours just so we could see everybody praying for us, so we could stay there and have them pray over my belly,” Tessa recalled. “The peace that we felt that day was just amazing, and we just knew that God was going to take care of us and that he was in control of this.”
Journeying through her pregnancy know of her daughter’s condition however wasn’t easy. Tessa says there were times she did not understand what God was doing but she and her husband prayed and clung to the promise of Jeremiah 27:5-8.
“It basically just talks about, he who trusts in man is cursed, and he who trusts in God is blessed,” Doug said. “We’ve always got God to turn to.”
On Sept. 5, 2015 Andi-Kate was born.
“Well we had her and I was terrified of the moment, because we couldn’t hold her when she was born,” Tessa said. “They wheeled me over to the little window to peek through at her. I saw her little self on the table with all these doctors around her, and just the peace that came over me was just unexplainable and I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t scared because I just felt like she was really taken care of.”
Andi-Kate spent the first four months of her life at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia until January when she was sent home with her parents earlier than expected.
“Andi-Kate is a true miracle from God! After over four months of being in the NICU, being on life support, and having multiple surgeries, she got to return home with her family. She is finally able to spend her time snuggling with mommy and daddy, and watching her big brother play. She has taken huge strides and defied all medical odds. The little girl who was supposed to be in the hospital for a year or longer (if she survived), is returning home after just four months!” her family declared on the Gofundme page.
Before going home however Andi-Kate endured intensive surgeries to put her organs in place.
“She’s got three scars also that is going to be a constant reminder of how God has performed a miracle in her life,” Doug said.
“God is bigger than all of this, anything that life could ever throw at you, God is bigger and he will get you through these problems,” Tessa added.
For the Cunninghams, it appears parenthood, although a blessing, has been a trial for them ever since they were pregnant with their first child, Hunter.
Here’s more from their Gofundme campaign.
Parenthood is truly a blessing and gift from God. When you meet and know parents like Tessa and Doug, it is clear that they do not take it for granted. From the very beginning of parenthood, both parents were faced with a major obstacle with their first child, Hunter. Hunter had a several cysts on both his kidneys and his fate was uncertain. Through prayer and faith, Hunter was born without a single cyst on his kidneys, and the doctors have no explanation for it.
Hear more from the faithful parents below: