Five months and nine days after Baby Christopher Ruben was born, he's finally headed home, but his first stop – his mother's grave. It's a heartbreaking story, but it's also a pro-life story.
Baby Christopher was born on February 4th, premature at 23 weeks gestation after his mother had a stroke and was being kept alive on life support just so he would survive.
Malinda Ruben found out that she was pregnant after being told that she could never conceive and bear a child, but was told to terminate the pregnancy due to significant health challenges.
According to the hospital's website, Malinda had a "premonition" that she wouldn't survive the pregnancy, and reportedly told the baby's father: "I'm not going to make it. You're going to have to fight for our child."
Medical professionals say Malinda had a massive stroke 21 weeks into her pregnancy and doctors declared her beyond medical hope of recovery. Doctors kept Baby Christopher alive for over a week until they deemed it safe for him to make his entrance into the world.
The procedure was the first of this kind to occur in the state of Idaho at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.
Director of ministry outreach for Stanton Healthcare and family spokesperson Jason Herring said the baby boy entered the world at 1lb 1oz and his cry could be heard from the hallway.
"As 'Baby Christopher' clung to life, we all clung to hope with his family as we prayed for his health, growth, and strength," Herring said. "Through prayer and support, the Treasure Valley and beyond stood in solidarity with this precious child."
The entire community came together for Baby Christopher's birth, setting up a prayer chain and faith leaders in the community held a prayer vigil.
Founder and CEO of Stanton Healthcare Brandi Swindell said it was "one of the most heroic things" she's ever seen.
"She sacrificed her own life for her son," Swindle said. "This is the ultimate example of what it means to be a woman and a mother. We continue to pray and come together to support the family in this new season."
The Stanton Project ministry continues to collect donations for the family and provide support as they continue their journey.
"This is not just a historical medical case or a most noble cause," their website reads. "This is a child. This is a son, a grandson, a nephew, and a cousin. This is one of us. This is a mother's legacy. And we honor her sacrifice."
Baby gifts, financial donations, or cards specifically for 'Baby Christopher Rueben' can be delivered or mailed to Stanton Healthcare (3684 N Harbor Lane, Boise or contact Stanton at 208.855.5095) during the next 4 weeks.