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
“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.
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.