Norwich family speak of their miracle baby
By Mike Wiltshire
2009: A Norwich family has spoken of their son's recovery from near-death as a baby, nearly 15 years ago, to become a lively and musically-gifted teenager today.
"You asked for a miracle – and you have got one!" said a senior hospital doctor to the young mother – also a doctor – after the dramatic survival of her premature baby son, Jonathan.
Parents, Michael and Bernadette Cant, recall: "Our son's name, Jonathan, means 'Gift from God.' It was almost unbelievable that our tiny baby on a ventilator had survived such severe medical problems. He weighed only 2lbs 6oz and was in a coma for three days."
The senior consultant said he "feared for the baby living", because the child would have so much brain damage. "We faced a heartbreaking decision about possibly turning off the life-support system," says Michael.
Today, almost 15 years later, Jonathan has a remarkable gift for music. As a guitarist, keyboard player, drummer, music writer and singer, he leads a band, called 'Back2Front' at his local church.
Michael adds: "We are a happy family of four, including Jonathan's lovely young sister, Isabelle, nearly 12, whose birth was without complications.
Bernadette is still a practicing doctor and Michael has seen success as an architect on award-winning projects.
However, during his childhood, Michael's family faced a dramatic tragedy. "I'll never forget the day when, as a 12-year-old schoolboy, Mum arrived with a friend at our boarding school,” he said. “She looked very distressed and we drove home in silence – I was not sure what to think. Then, in our lounge, Mum broke the news: 'Darling, your father has died in a car accident.'
Michael was numb. His father's sudden death left a great void, but other tragedies followed.
"My mother married again, but then my step-father died in a diabetic coma. I was involved in a car accident where another close family friend died. My younger brother Geoffrey, then 34, also died in a car accident leaving behind two young children."
Despite these events, both Michael and Bernadette remain people of faith which has helped them through hard times.
Michael trained in Dundee as an architect and later moved to Norwich where he met Bernadette at their local church. They were engaged within a year.
When their son, Jonathan, was born, Bernie, as a GP, knew that Jonathan, their first-born, was "a miracle baby" who had survived a brain haemorrhage, a blood-clotting disorder and other complications. He was so ill that the senior consultant advised them to turn off the ventilator and let him slip away, as medically nothing more could be done.
Michael recalls that heartbreaking moment. "We cried to God – 'Take this decision from us – please intervene and decide for us.'
"At this point I felt God reminded me how He had intervened at the last moment to save the boy Isaac, the beloved son of Abraham, from certain death, and I was to trust Him just as Abraham had.
"Then, at the crucial moment, Jonathan suddenly began breathing on his own after three days in a coma. He was able to leave hospital eight weeks later, weighing 5½lbs. Brain scans revealed no damage - that was miraculous!"
The couple say that many people have been touched by the story of their miracle baby, including a Christian consultant who had prayed with them at the time. Also Bernie's father, who came to faith in Jesus Christ as a result of the recovery of his grandson.
"Yes, my family has known deep tragedies – but also great miracles," says Michael, who is a leader in a Norwich fellowship of Christian business men. "We also know that God's love changes lives – and he is 'just a prayer away.' He promises that if we look for him with all our heart we will find Him."
Pictured above is red-haired Jonathan, left, with his mother Bernie, dad Michael and sister, Isabelle, with family dog, Barnie, and top, Jonathan as a tiny baby.