Best of 2019: How Incompatible Is Incompatible with Life, Really?

This post is the most viewed of mine in 2019. Happy New Year and God bless you in 2020!

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.”

24 Replies to “Best of 2019: How Incompatible Is Incompatible with Life, Really?”

  1. So many times the doctor’s think they have the correct answers but our God is bigger. Thanks for the great story of encouragement.

  2. “Doctors are not God.” We must remember that. I appreciate the wisdom God gives to doctors but they are human and do make mistakes. Thank you for this message Nancy.

  3. I can understand why doctors make recommendations based on the odds, but I will never understand why they get angry if someone chooses to take the risk and let God decide if their child lives or dies. Why can’t doctors work with parents as a team to do the best they can–even if those efforts fail?

    1. Thanks, Linda. I have a problem with doctors declaring predictions that aren’t 100 percent. Are they trying to save the cost of care? And yes, parents seeking care for children in need should receive respect at every turn. I know the Santorums had to fight for Bella–and if Karen hadn’t been a neo-natal nurse, she probably would have little idea of what to ask for. God bless!

  4. Such a sweet photo and all these powerful stories of life and overcoming the odds. How sad medical practices actually drop patients who are high-risk with this condition! Being a twin, it makes me both teary and grateful when the small twin is given a chance at life and makes it!

  5. Heart wrenching that doctors ever say ‘you must abort’ and use such a sanitary term as ‘incompatible with life’. So very tragic that it was easier to schedule an abortion than find care for a high risk pregnancy. Thank you for sharing and spreading the word that the doctors don’t get to decide.

  6. We are but dust my sweet friend. Mankind, without God, is incompatible with life. For without God, there is no life. That’s not for man to decide. God’s blessings to all those who “Choose Life.”

  7. What a beautiful and inspiring story of faith! I wish all terrified parents that receive the news that their child is “incompatible with life” could reads this. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Oh. Nancy. These are terrific stories and so honoring to God, His sovereignty, and life. Gs.ood determines our days. Amen. I’m so glad there are people who understand this and make decisions accordingly.

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