How Incompatible Is Incompatible with Life, Really?

You’re excited to be pregnant. Then the news hits you like a rock. Your child is “incompatible with life. You should terminate.” Or “You have to terminate.” It happens more often than you might think.

But not every unborn child so labeled actually dies.

What follows is a post by Rachael, a friend who knows all too well what hearing those words means since she and her husband Mike found out a year ago that they were expecting identical twin girls–and that the babies were at risk.

“‘SIUGR stands for selective intrauterine growth restriction and occurs only in monochorionic (identical) twin pregnancies.

“About 10% of monochorionic pregnancies will develop SIUGR. Many doctors do not know enough about this condition, and as a result, many are still recommending that parents terminate the smaller identical twin.

“We were given the option to terminate [the smaller baby] Vesper. We faced the options of terminating or relying on faith. We were told, if Vesper passes away, you are going to cause her sister (Olenna) to either pass or have severe brain damage. And you need to prepare for a life with a severely disabled child if that happens. As I watched them dancing on the ultrasound screen, we determined then and there that termination was not an option for us. Vesper was growing and fighting to survive. She was just smaller than Olenna.

“So we went to the doctor every two weeks. The anxiety that filled each appointment until we heard both of their heartbeats is something I hope I never have to relive. But every week our girls fought and grew. After 24 weeks the medical staff stopped asking us every appointment if we were going to terminate.

“Finally, at 34 weeks, the longest they would allow our pregnancy to go, we delivered two beautiful baby girls.

“I am raising awareness for every fighter-survivor and angel out there. Olenna and Vesper want you to know that SIUGR does not automatically mean a death sentence. There is always hope. My girls are six months old and the Joy for our days. I thank God for them.

“‘This happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.’ John 9:3

That’s Rachael’s testimony of life for both her babies.

Hannah Sudlow’s story is different, yet the same. Her single baby Evelyn has the genetic disorder Trisomy 18. Her doctor told her Evelyn would surely die. He said:

“She is incompatible with life. She won’t survive. I don’t think you understand how serious this is.”

But Hannah and her husband Craig insisted on giving life to Evelyn–and committed to enjoying her as long as God allowed her to live. The medical practice treating Hannah did not take the news well.

“I was immediately dropped from the practice after calling through screams and sobs to ask where in the world that information came from and that I would continue my pregnancy. I went five weeks without a provider. Tragically, it was a thousand times easier to schedule an abortion for my child than it was to find proper care for myself and my pregnancy.”

Five weeks with no overseeing physician during a high-risk pregnancy. Easy to abort. Hard to find care. Yet, in this case, Hannah averted tragedy.

Because Evelyn is now 2-1/2 years old.

“The only tragedy here would be never meeting Evelyn. All of our days are limited. Not just a child with a chronic illness. None of us are promised tomorrow. I remind myself daily that on my best day or worst day caring for Evelyn, I never have the power to add or subtract a day from her life. “

Doctors advising Hannah and her husband were operating under the notion that all babies with Trisomy 18 die. But that’s not the case.

Former US Senator Rick Santorum and his wife Karen also have a daughter with Trisomy 18. They too received the terrible new that they HAD TO abort their child who was incompatible with life. They refused.

She is now ten years old.

Doctors are not the authors of life and death. God gives us people to love for as long as they and we are here to give love and receive love.

If only we will be as brave as Rachael and Mike, Hannah and Craig, and Rick and Karen.

If only we too will be so brave.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Photo Credit: Mike and Rachael Andrews Family Collection by Lakeside Portraits

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

29 Replies to “How Incompatible Is Incompatible with Life, Really?”

  1. Thank you for reaching out for these sweet babies in the womb. I sobbed through the movie “Unplanned” last night; each unborn baby is so precious to Him, even if they’re born imperfect! I pray this blog reaches parents wrestling with the agonizing decision of whether or not to abort their baby.

  2. This post just encourages me, God holds our days in His hands. A death sentence and impossible situation are where God works.

    He holds all life in His hands!

  3. Wow, Nancy, these testimonials are powerful! Thank you for sharing! I experienced a similar story when I was pregnant with my 2nd child. The screenings gave evidence of a chromosomal problem and the doctor’s office required “genetic counseling” which basically meant the woman who met with us did everything possible to convince us to abort the baby. We would not. My daughter is now age 23, is perfectly healthy and is getting her master’s degree to become a special education teacher. Only God has the final word!!!

    1. When we heard a similar story at church several years ago, someone said, If I were that mother, I’d send a picture of this child to the doctor every year on her birthday. How many perfect and imperfect children who would love life are we missing? Thanks for commenting and God bless!

  4. Wow, powerful stories of survival AFTER a diagnosis and glaring encouragement to terminate. Thankful for those twin girls and the parents who courageously chose life and care for their kids conditions. And for this…

    “Doctors are not the authors of life and death. God gives us people to love for as long as they and we are here to give love and receive love.”

  5. Everything you’ve been writing has the clarity of solid, God-honoring wisdom. You’re uncovering the lies that the world system throws at pregnant women every day, the abortion industry trying to end lives they deem not worthy, thus adding more money to the coffers of anti-life providers. This is not of God. Thank you for exposing these lies.

  6. Doctors are wonderful, BUT GOD knows MORE than doctors. God can make miracles happen out of nothing. God can make a way for life and make good out of bad. Praise Jesus!

    1. And these stories prove that. What the world would have missed/is now missing because of the word of a doctor who thought he/she knew more than they did. Thanks, Jessica, and God bless!

  7. My cousin experienced a pregnancy where the doctors informed her and her husband of the disease that would kill their baby either in the womb or shortly after birth. That did not change their desire to continue praying for baby Stella as long as she was alive. Stella ended up passing away, and my cousin had to go through a still birth. But I know, despite the pain of all that, they still would make the same decision again and again. It’s not our choice when to end a life.

  8. Wow. This is an incredible story of faith. Thank you for sharing it. I have a similar story. I was told I might have a baby with Downs Syndrome because some blood test during pregnancy indicated something was off. But we were NOT going to abort. Then an ultrasound showed my baby girl had “short femur bones” which was another indicator of Downs. Didn’t matter. We were NOT going to abort. Today, my daughter is a graduate student at Wheaton College, earning a Masters degree in Education. She currently substitute teaches… in “Special Education.” Ha! Is this a testimony of God’s amazing goodness or what? Trusting God is never going to leave one empty.

    1. Thanks for that fabulous story, Lisa! One of my grandson’s also had a “possible Down” diagnosis. I remember my daughter saying, “I’d rather have a Down baby than no baby at all.” Yet he was not a Down baby. She would have loved him either way. I don’t understand how they get everyone all riled up–and then are so quick to push abortion. God bless!

  9. My son and daughter-in-law are facing the same attitude from the medical establishment. We are praying that one doctor will do the right thing and work toward life. Let God decide if that life is “not compatible with life.”

  10. We heard those words from our doctor when our son was born. So hard to hear and not always true.

    1. So true, Jennifer. These children are surviving/thriving. But that’s not the case for all. Even so, they are imago Dei and worthy of our love. Thanks and God bless!

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