About a year ago, doctors told Ashley and Jim Murray the twins Ashley was carrying shared the same placenta. This meant the possibility of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. One twin might get more nutrients than the other. It was a small chance, but they were going to keep a close watch just in case.
At 24 weeks, a routine ultrasound confirmed Ashley’s worst fears. The twins showed signs of complications. The doctors wanted to save only the stronger twin. The Murrays wanted to save both babies.
“That’s what life is,” Ashley said. “Helping the weakest.”
Soon the news got worse. Benjamin’s heart rate was getting weaker. Ashley had an emergency C-section. “Benjamin was our son, and if he needed life saving intervention, we were going to give it to him,” Jim said. After the surgery, doctors took Benjamin to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). They worked tirelessly to keep him alive. But it wasn’t enough.
After two hours, one of the doctors turned to Jim and said, “It’s time to say goodbye.”
She placed Benjamin in Jim’s arms. Jim took him to where Ashley was recovering from surgery. “She embraced him,” Jim said. “She talked to him as if there wasn’t a loss. It was her strength of character, her ability to embrace Benjamin even at that moment, treating him with honor and respect even in his death.”
In the hours and days that followed, Jim and Ashley knew they wanted to do something to honor Benjamin’s life. They also wanted to help other people facing tough pregnancies. “The day Benjamin and Ethan were born I was wearing a Save the Storks t-shirt,” Jim said. “Looking at the t-shirt I held Benjamin in, I thought, ‘How amazing would it be if there was a Benjamin Bus?’”
So he called Save the Storks the next day.
Save the Storks, a pro-life ministry based in Colorado Springs, helps pregnancy resource centers raise funds for mobile medical units. These medical buses and vans come equipped with ultrasound units. Women facing unplanned pregnancies can see their child and learn about their options. The Murrays were particularly interested in Storks because of the ultrasound component. The many ultrasounds during Ashley’s pregnancy helped them make important decisions for Benjamin and Ethan. “We love the method and message of Save the Storks, and we now personally know the lifesaving power of the ultrasound,” Jim said.
The staff at Save the Storks connected the Murrays with the Fayette Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) in Georgia. Together, with the help of Storks, they began making plans to get a mobile medical unit on the road.
Almost a year after that phone call, on a sweltering hot day in September, a blue and green Sprinter van rolled into the parking lot of the Fayette Pregnancy Resource Center. The Benjamin Bus was finally home.
The Murray family, their son Ethan, the staff of the Fayette Pregnancy Center, and more than 50 community members and leaders welcomed the bus with a ceremony and celebration. Luci Hough, executive director at the Fayette PRC, said the mobile unit enables the center to reach more women in the community and help them to choose life for their babies. “This is the culmination of two years of plans and preparation,” Hough said. “It is also a day of praise and thanksgiving.”
For her, the Benjamin connection makes their work even more special and important.
She said Benjamin’s story encourages us to know there’s people like the Murrays who defy all odds and trust in the Lord for life. “The story of Benjamin reminds us there’s always hope,” she said.
Ashley, Benjamin’s mom, echoed these sentiments. “We chose to give our son life because we believe in the importance of life no matter how small, or at what stage. Benjamin’s life and this bus is a reminder to us to be a champion for even the smallest of lives.”
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Learn more about the Fayette Pregnancy Resource Center: https://fayetteprc.com/
Learn more about Stork Buses: https://savethestorks.com/what-we-do/stork-bus/