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Oct24ThuNellie Butt had a life-or-death choice to make. October 24, 2013 by Ken Ramstead
Nellie Butt stared at her doctor, who was on the phone giving directions in a dry, clinical manner. The soothing sound could not mask the intent.
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They're going to kill my baby, Nellie thought to herself.
Nellie and Doug Butt had met in Newfoundland and Labrador, fallen in love and gotten married, all before either of them was 20.
“We fell in love, and never stopped falling!” Nellie smiles. Doug was a bus driver and Nellie was a full-time housewife, and they were blessed with three happy and healthy boys. Life seemed complete.
Thirteen years passed when they discovered Nellie was pregnant again.
“It seemed like a miracle after all those years,” she says, “especially as I had already had two miscarriages.”
But in her third month, Nellie started experiencing the same symptoms she'd had when she'd miscarried. Tests determined that unless she aborted the unborn child, there was a chance that both mother and baby could die during delivery.
“I was sitting in my doctor's office listening to him making all the arrangements,” Nellie says, “and I came to a realization: I had a decision to make.”
Doug was waiting for his wife in the parking lot when he saw her rush toward him.
“I can't go through with the abortion,” a tearful Nellie told her husband. Together, the couple re-entered the clinic to inform the doctor of their decision.
“Cancel everything,” she told him.
“You're taking your life in your hands,” the doctor cautioned her.
“That's a chance I have to take,” a determined Nellie replied.
“I couldn't take my baby's life,” she explained later.
Though her pregnancy was difficult, the feared complications never arose.
“Several months later, I was born healthy,” says Salvation Army Captain Tammy Sabourin, Doug and Nellie's daughter. “And my mom came out of it without any ill effects.”
“We lived the next street over from the hospital and our neighbours were waiting to hear the news,” smiles Nellie. “As soon as Doug made sure we were both safe and sound, he ran down the street, shouting, 'I've got a little girl!' ”
Four years later, Nellie and Doug became Christians after watching an evangelist preach at an outdoor revival in Toronto. They started attending a nearby Salvation Army church and soon began to go regularly. Eventually, they joined The Salvation Army and became pastors themselves. Tammy and her husband, in turn, also became official members and then pastors of the Army.
Recently, Doug was diagnosed with cancer and was not given long to live. Tammy, now living in Ontario, rushed to his bedside.
When she came through the door, Doug looked up, smiled and said, “I'll be OK now. My little girl is home.” He died the next morning.
“She was always his little girl,” smiles his wife.
“Doug and I were not Christians when we had Tammy but we always believed God's hand was in it,” she continues. “If I'd gone through with the abortion, we wouldn't have had her in our lives and she would never have gone on to serve God herself. She was, and is, our blessing.”
“I always knew my story was special,” concludes Captain Tammy, “but now that I have children of my own, it's become even more remarkable. My mother's choice—and my father's support— inspires me every day.”