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Miracle baby Abby Lou dedicated in Easter celebration

Easter Sunday, 2017: 'We presented Abby Lou to our Savior through infant baptism and we pray to live our lives each day to be the example she needs to see of Christ in our hearts.' - Abby Lou Smith's parents
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By Linda Waggener

Abbigail Lousetta Smith -- not due until the following March -- arrived November 6, 2015 at 23 weeks and one day gestational age, weighing only one pound, three ounces, and was nine and a half inches in length. Prayers began that instant for Abby Lou as she battled for her life. The parents prayed, the grandparents prayed, the church prayed and as each prayed and reached out to others, the little baby had thousands praying for her to live and be healed.

Abby Lou, "the little miracle daughter" of Kyle and Brittany Wilkinson Smith of Columbia, attended her first Easter celebration at Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church Sunday, April 16, 2017.


Her family is praising the Lord that she lived, survived many challenges, and on her 525th day of age, was well enough and strong enough to be in their church service for her dedication with pastor Lanny Garner and a devoted congregation of family and friends.

Mom's diary -- Easter 2017:
"What a blessed Easter Sunday we have had!!!! While it was not Abby's first Easter, it was her first Easter at home, and her first Easter in church! Not only that, but it was her first trip to church, and first major outing other than to a doctors appointment! What a blessing... and what a testimony on this Easter Sunday to the faithfulness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!! Christ is Alive! Praise His name!!"


Though the sorrow may last through the night, joy comes in the morning!
"This verse played in my head many times during our NICU stay, and rang true again this weekend as we were able to bring her to church at 525 days old!" wrote her mother on her 'prayers for Abby Lou' site. "It's times like today when it truly doesn't feel like 525 days... it's amazing how long this journey has been... but joy has definitely come to our home on this Easter morning! We presented Abby Lou to our Savior through infant baptism and we pray to live our lives each day to be the example she needs to see of Christ in our hearts."

Another verse Brittany said helped them keep the faith was 2Corinthians 1:9-10 --
 "Indeed we felt as if we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf, for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many."

Grandparents are Keith (Papaw) and Connie (Mamaw)Smith of Beatyville, KY and Sandy (Nana) and Danny(Pa) Wilkinson of Columbia.

Brittany is a 7th grade teacher at Adair County Middle School. Kyle is Service Manager at Lowe's in Campbellsville. They met as students at the University of KY in 2009 and were married in July, 2010.

Their first born, Abby Lou's brother Eli Luke, arrived at only 17 weeks, and did not survive. The couple knew that with Brittany's physical challenge another child might arrive early. They made it past Eli's sorrowful 17-week anniversary.

When Brittany began having labor pains in her pregnancy with Abby Lou at 23 weeks, they rushed to UK Hospital where their baby's first blessing occurred. Her doctor had just the week before read that it was safe to give steroid shots at that age of the baby. Mom needed two shots, over two days. Abby Lou was born within an hour of receiving the maximum benefit from the two steroid shots.

Doctors gave the young parents very little hope, along with the option not to try to save her, telling them of all the problems they'd have and sacrifices there'd be with a baby that had only 23 weeks to develop.

Born in Lexington, she would be in three different hospitals, UK Children's, Cincinnati Children's, and Nationwide Children's in Columbus, to treat the challenges that came for everything from heart to digestion to vision.

Many times and many different doctors gave very little hope, predicting she'd not survive the night. Abby Lou's parents held onto their faith.

During the darkest days, Kyle had a dream where he plainly saw their little Abby Lou in his lap with no tubes - she was bouncing up and down and had curly hair - that dream just strengthened their faith and it has come true.

Abby Lou came home in September 2016, ten months after her birth. All the prayers were being answered and her mother posted, "She's not looking like 'baby Abby'anymore . . . she's our tiny toddler and we are so blessed!"

During those ten months, the caring prayer warriors numbered up to 50,000 keeping up on her Facebook page Prayers for Abby Lou. Posts included some of the following - praising and requesting very specific, one-step-at-a-time prayers.

Prayer examples posted by Abby Lou's Mom along their journey included:

- "Pray tonight for the condensing of her feeds to go well. Pray for her to continue to adjust well to having a g-tube.

- "Pray that she would resist any sickness that may set her back.

- "Pray for wisdom for the doctors and nurses and for healing for so many NICU babies around us that are so desperately needing a healing touch.

- "Please pray hard for her surgery tonight. Pray that God's Will would be done from start to finish.

- "Pray for wisdom for the doctors and nurses that will be taking care of her.

- "Pray that everything would go exactly the way it needs to.

- "Pray for a quick recovery and that her belly can tolerate her feeds.

- "Pray for strength and patience for us as we work through the last few hurdles before we can come home.

Pray for her to resist any sickness or anything that could set her back.

- "Pray that she would take her bottles to the best of her ability without hating them.

- "Pray that God would bless her g-tube surgery and that she would recover quickly.

- "Pray for God to pave our way home."

Praise examples posted along their journey included:

- "We cannot PRAISE the Lord enough for all He has done.

- "Praise the Lord for the progress Abby has made from last Saturday to today! What a blessing to see! Keep praying...keep praising! One day at a time!

- "Praise the Lord that we have a miracle baby that is doing so well despite an off day!

Keep praying...keep praising!

- "Praise the Lord she has had another great day! Nana and Mamaw are having a ball with her.

- "We praise the Lord that she will crawl any day now.

- "We praise the Lord for the progress she has made. He is worthy! Keep praying...keep praising! One day at a time!!"

- "We praise the Lord that she wants to pull up and stand and try to walk.

- "We praise the Lord that she is without oxygen during the day.

- "We praise the Lord that taking a whole bottle is a regular happening.

- "I could shout praises all night. We are blessed beyond measure and it's all because God saw fit to reach down and bless our sweet baby girl with a miraculous healing so many times. It's all God! Praise His name!"

Mom's prayer for all is, "Continue to pray for so many that need our prayers tonight. Pray for the sick in our community . . . the babies in the NICU that are still fighting every day . . . the children in our schools . . . our leaders at every level of our government. God hears every prayer and Abby Lou is proof He is still working around us every day! Keep praying...keep praising! One day at a time!"
Photos from the family will be added below the story.


This story was posted on 2017-04-20 18:30:18
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Abby Lou, 'Little Miracle Baby' and her parents at Easter



2017-04-20 - Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church, Adair County, KY - Photo from the family collection.
Abbigail Lousetta Smith in the arms of her parents, Kyle and Brittany Wilkinson Smith of Columbia, was "presented to our Savior through infant baptism" in her first Easter celebration at Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church Sunday, April 16, 2017.

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Abby Lou surrounded by love at Easter service



2017-04-21 - Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church, Adair County, KY - Photo from the family. Family and friends at the Easter dedication service from left are -- Abby's cousin Jessica Simpson, Jessica Wilkinson, Derek Wilkinson, Abby's great aunt Donna Simpson, Abby's great grandmother Eva Wilkinson, Pa Danny Wilkinson, Abby Lou, Mom and Dad Brittany and Kyle Smith, and Nana Sandy Wilkinson.
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Paternal grandparents all smiles at Abby Lou's dedication



2017-04-21 - Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church, Adair County, KY - Photo from the family.
From left are Mamaw Connie Smith, Papaw Keith Smith and Brittany, Abby Lou and Kyle Smith.

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Along Abby Lou's journey



2017-04-21 - Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church, Adair County, KY - Photo from the family collection.
These quick snapshots document Abby Lou Smith's incredibly hard journey through many nights when medical staff told her parents there was little chance she'd make it through the night. Abby Lou was dedicated in a joyous Easter celebration on her 525th day of life.

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Cousins in support of Abby Lou



2017-04-21 - Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church, Adair County, KY - Photo from the family collection.
Cousins of Abby Lou Smith at her Easter dedication service were from left -- Colton Feese, Michelle Feese, Bryan Feese, Sarah Goforth, Angie Feese and Dylan Feese.

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Praise and celebration continue for life of Abby Lou Smith



2017-04-23 - Columbia, KY - Photo from the family collection.
A mighty praise and dedication service was held Easter Sunday when Abby Lou Smith, pictured here with her trademark smile in her sweet little glasses, was "presented to our Savior through infant Baptism," surrounded by her family and congregation of Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church prayer warriors. And the praise continues every second of every day. From her "much too early birth" to her present day, as she continues growing from baby stage into toddlerhood. Her parents and grandparents shared their walk and the bible verses that helped them hang onto their faith through the darkest moments. Clicking 'read more' takes you to the story and more photos underneath it. Any family who has experienced anything close to having a child's life threatened -- as ours did -- will find their testimony heartening and helpful to keeping the faith. -- Linda Waggener

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