The Wrong Diagnosis
It is not an uncommon thing for mothers to be told that the baby growing in their womb may have Down syndrome or some abnormality. In the majority of cases they are encouraged to abort the baby. Many times the diagnosis is incorrect and babies are born perfectly.
The following are some of the testimonies from mothers who would not abort their precious babies. What about the mothers who give into the pressure from medical staff to abort? How many babies are aborted that would have been born without any problems? And even if the baby was not “perfect,” shouldn’t every life be protected at all costs? God’s kingdom is a kingdom of life. If we belong to His kingdom, we will choose life in every situation, no matter what the diagnosis.
The Wrong Date
Growing up, I was told that because I have cystic fibrosis, I probably wouldn't be able to have biological children and I definitely shouldn't even if I could! When my husband and I married, we dearly wanted children and visited a specialist who told me that because I had infrequent, anovulatory cycles, I would not be able to become pregnant without intervention. We went home saddened, but determined that our lives were in God's hands.
Seven months later, though my cycles remained irregular, I discovered I was pregnant. It was more wonderful than I had imagined it would be. God granted my body strength and stability and blessed me with a first trimester free from nausea. When I was supposedly 20 weeks, I went for my first ultrasound. The doctor was annoyed with our enthusiasm and when the ultrasound was completed, he announced that our child definitely had intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR), most likely had Down syndrome and he wasn't sure what other problems!
"You should consider not going through with this pregnancy." he said matter-of-factly. Perhaps it was having grown up around medical professionals, or maybe it was the maternal hormones swirling through my body, but I was not intimidated. Neither was John.
"Termination is not an option for us. God gave us this pregnancy. We were never supposed to be able to conceive. We don't care if this child turns out to be a frog. We will keep it, love it and care for it!" we replied emphatically. We left and never returned to that hospital. All through the rest of my pregnancy, we had peace. Neither one of us believed the diagnosis to be true, but believed this child was God’s and we were prepared for health, infirmity or disability.
We had numerous due dates assigned ranging from early March to late April. At 46.5 weeks (according to that first ultrasound due date) labor began. I gave birth at home with our midwife on April 24, 2002 to a lovely little rosy girl who was obviously completely "normal" and had grown well—7 lbs. 14 oz. of delightful, miraculous, answer to prayer. She was clearly not "overdue" at all. It was then that my husband, John, and I discovered what had transpired that caused the doctor to believe there was something amiss. I had had a cycle at the end of May and everyone took this to determine the date of conception, but because of my cycles, I, in fact, did not conceive until probably the end of July. Consequently, my due date was set approximately six weeks too early. When the ultrasound was performed, of course, she appeared small. If the doctor had taken a little time, he would have discovered that my blood work and images all lined up for a healthy, much younger baby.
My husband and I are very thankful we had God's strength and teaching to resist the devil at that crucial moment. But, we grow more thankful every year as we have not been blessed with another pregnancy.
Our daughter is still one of the healthiest children we know! And she is the delight of our lives.
McKinney, Texas, USA
Infertile! And Four Babies?
When we were told 12 years ago that we were infertile, “devastated” could not even describe our emotions. They were sure that even In Vitro Fertilization would not help. We sought the Lord as we waited for my cycle to start for one of their tests. It never came! Unknowingly, I was already pregnant with our firstborn son who is now 11 years old.
With our firstborn daughter, I suffered three grand mal seizures and went to the Emergency. The ER doctors gave me medicine to stop the seizures and asked my husband if I could be pregnant. My husband explained that we had been trying for over a year and thought I may be infertile again. The test was positive! The doctors actually discouraged my husband from telling me right away, (which he ignored) and told us to expect a miscarriage. They informed us that because of the seizures and the medicine, that if I did not miscarry, the baby would not be normal and we should consider "termination.”
We prayed a lot, and then some more. The doctors told us I would likely keep having seizures but I haven't had one since and my daughter is nine years old! God is amazing--she was born perfectly healthy. I’m so thankful we didn't even consider terminating.
Twelve months later we happily learned I was pregnant with child number three. During the routine ultrasound they suspected Down syndrome due to the baby’s measurements. The OB wanted to follow up with amniocentesis in case we may consider “termination.” I refused and assured her that if God gave us a baby with Down syndrome we would still want him or her! We received pressure from not only the doctors, but also the technicians. We had two high-level ultrasounds to try to rule Down syndrome out, but they didn't. They were so convinced that at delivery they had a neonatal surgical team waiting (in case of heart issues). My little McKenna was born perfectly healthy and is seven years old today.
Baby number four was born with a club foot which we knew about from the ultrasound. I spent three months researching, interviewing doctors and preparing for the medical journey. We chose a method called Ponsetti that was labor intensive for the parents, slower than doing a few surgeries but the long term outcome would be much better. Our baby had his foot casted at three days old and kept it on for three months. He then slept in a bar attached to shoes for three and a half years. Today, Brenner is our exuberant, active, athletic child with virtually no signs of the deformity and no surgeries! We give God the glory for our four children who are all healthy.
I'd love to ask that first doctor about the infertility diagnosis!
Aurora, Colorado, USA
Finally Living my Dream
All I ever wanted to do my whole life was be a mother and homemaker. God had other plans for me at first, though. I was 32 when I married and we began trying to conceive right away. Soon after our wedding, I found I was eaten up with endometriosis. I had surgery, lost my right ovary, my appendix, but hoped my left ovary would work after they removed the many cysts. One and one-half years later endometriosis came back, this time in my left ovary. After three months of Depot-Lupron, it finally disappeared. I still did not think I could conceive, but after going through foster parenting classes, hoping to foster-to-adopt an infant, we became pregnant!
I gave birth to my first daughter at the age of 37, and yes, they offered genetic counseling for me to make sure all was okay. I declined, and my daughter was born perfect. My second baby came at age 39, but I spent most of the pregnancy going to a midwife, so the subject of genetic counseling never came up.
At 41 years, I became pregnant with our third child and visited my midwife at 12 weeks. Unfortunately, they found no heartbeat, and later that week, I miscarried. It appeared the baby was only nine weeks in size (per a sonogram), so we believe that baby had already been deceased for three weeks. I was devastated, but had my two children, so I felt blessed.
At the age of 43 years, I found out I was pregnant once again! This time, I went straight to an OB/GYN. My progesterone was very low, so I was put on synthetic progesterone, and the pregnancy went fine! Once again, they offered genetic counseling. We completed paperwork, a nice lady counseled us and they did blood work.
I did end up having amniocentesis three weeks before my due date, only because I had polyhydromnios (too much amniotic fluid) and my daughter was swimming around too freely. My doctor was afraid my water would break and the cord would come out first, cutting off her oxygen supply, so for this pregnancy only, I agreed to a c-section. The amnio was to make sure her lungs were developed enough, but at nearly three weeks early, her lungs were perfectly developed and she was 8 lbs. 9 ozs.
I consider all my children (even the "one that got away") miracles! I always wondered why God allowed me to wait so long to have the life I always wanted. I believe it is to be a testimony to those who have no hope! There IS hope! I am proof of it! I am 48 years old and finally living my dream life: I am a stay-at-home-homeschooling mom! God is so good! He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children (Psalm 113:9).
Mesquite, Texas, USA
I’m Glad we Didn’t Listen
At my first physical exam for my pregnancy, the nurse told me she had "never felt anything like that before.” She put me on bed rest at 10 weeks gestation and ordered an emergency ultrasound. The ultrasound was "normal” but they recommended a triple screen due to my being 34 years old. I agreed because it was only a blood draw and I thought that if anything was wrong, I'd like the time to adjust to the idea of not having my “perfect” baby.
After talking further to the doctor that examined me, he explained that I had a fibroid in my uterus with the baby. I was so relieved!
Soon after, while driving home from the market, I received a phone call from the hospital where I had the ultrasound. Uncharacteristically, I answered it while I drove. The person on the line said, "We have your blood test results back and I'm sorry to tell you that they are positive for abnormalities." She wanted me to schedule a CVS or amniocentesis. I explained that we didn't want further testing, that we would love our baby no matter what and didn't need to know ahead of time. She became really indignant and yelled at me through the phone, "Do you realize that your baby has # in # chances of having Down syndrome?” I'm sorry that I don't remember the exact numbers anymore. Mind you, I was driving in city traffic!
Eventually our daughter was born. Although she had some minor health struggles, she was healthy--no Down syndrome. I'm glad I didn't allow them to put her at risk doing a CVS or amnio. I'm thankful that the God who created the whole universe was knitting my daughter in my womb exactly as He wanted her and that none of these things were either mysterious or unknown to Him. He needed no tests or tools. She and I were in His trustworthy hands.
Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
Why give in to Worry?
When I became pregnant with our first baby, my doctor advised me to have a routine blood test in order to test for abnormalities. I declined, and received the "guilt trip" talk about caring for a child with disabilities. A few weeks later I experienced a threatened miscarriage. The same doctor sent me home telling me unsympathetically to await the natural termination of my pregnancy which was likely to be unviable. We went on to deliver a perfectly healthy baby girl.
I was offered the blood test again when I became pregnant with our second child, which I also declined. He was born with a pilonidal dimple on the base of his spine, which is an indicator of Spina Bifida Occulta (a type of Spina Bifida where the split in the vertebrae is so small the spinal cord does not protrude.) It is a hereditary condition, which we knew was on my side of the family, but had not, until this point, thought about it affecting our children.
All of our seven children are affected to a degree, with two of them having the pilonidal dimple and the others having a very mild indent. Not one of them has any difficulties from it. Thankfully I refused the blood tests as it is likely it would have shown up which would have caused so much unnecessary worry!
Palmerston North, New Zealand
Heart Beating Perfectly!
My husband and I were married on June 9, 1990 and I became pregnant three years later. We were overjoyed! The pregnancy was uneventful until the fourth month. As I was talking on the phone with a friend, all of a sudden, I was drenched in fluid. I quickly got off of the phone and called my husband who was in another part of the house. Upon arriving at the doctor’s, we found that the umbilical cord was prolapsed. The doctor looked at us and said, "There is nothing that we can do for this baby. You will need to deliver."
We were sent to the labor and delivery unit of the local hospital where labor was induced. Before much time had passed, our son was born. We knew that before he was ever laid in our arms, he was already being comforted in the arms of the Savior. Our hearts were broken. The grief seemed almost unbearable.
At that time, the doctors diagnosed me with an incompetent cervix, and said that when I became pregnant again they would need to stitch my cervix closed so I could carry to full term. Then we began our long wait.
It was another three years before we heard the joyful news that we were once again expecting. This time we entered with joy, but also fear and trepidation. Would we make it through this one? It seemed like an unreal possibility as early in the pregnancy, I started to hemorrhage. Upon calling the doctor, we found that nothing could be done—either the bleeding would stop on its own, or we would lose this baby too.
All weekend I lay on the couch praying the bleeding would stop and we would be able to keep this baby. On Monday morning, the doctor wanted to see me. By that time, the bleeding has slowed down considerably. He checked me and said that everything seemed fine and the baby had a good, strong heartbeat. He could give us no reason for the bleeding, but we were glad it seemed to be resolving itself. The doctor performed the necessary surgery at 13 weeks, and on December 21, 1996 our Christmas present arrived a few days early. Emily Lauren was the fulfillment of all our hopes and dreams.
Three years passed before we once again received the news that our family circle was going to become a little larger. This time we knew the routine. I waited until 13 weeks and once again underwent the surgery that would enable my cervix to stay closed and give our baby plenty of time to develop. We breathed a sigh of relief with that behind us. It was very short-lived. After doing some routine blood testing, we were called to the doctor's office and told by the midwife that the blood work showed I was carrying a very high risk of this baby having Down syndrome.
She encouraged us to have an amniocentesis performed. We declined and said we did not want an already high-risk pregnancy to have any more risks associated with it. She proceeded to tell us we could abort the baby since we were well within the time frame. We told her very emphatically that abortion was not an option for us. She was not pleased, but accepted our decision. Everything progressed well until about seven months. Having the surgery on my cervix, they are attuned to any signs of contractions since the stitching would need to be removed if contractions began.
During my visit, I told the midwife that I was having back pain. They immediately wanted to check if I was starting contractions and sent me to the hospital for a non-stress test. Thankfully, it showed I was not having contractions, but to everyone's consternation, it showed our baby's heart was skipping beats. In fact, it skipped 12 times within 30 minutes and sent those attending us into a frenzy. After doing blood work to see if my heart was being attacked by some unknown source, and having the test come back negative, they decided I should see the maternal-fetal medicine specialist for a level three sonogram. They warned us that if they found our baby in distress they would immediately deliver him.
As we waited in the office for our name to be called, we were filled with fear and dread. Yet, we knew that we and our little one were being sheltered in His loving arms. As we went in for our appointment, the nurse looked at us and said, "You know that this probably confirms that this baby has Down syndrome since they always have heart problems too." We again stated that abortion was not an option and whether this baby was perfect by the world's standard or not, he was perfect according to God's. During the two hour sonogram we learned we were carrying a boy.
They could see his tiny heart skipping, but could not determine a reason since everything seemed to be developing fine. We left the office rejoicing that our baby was given more time to develop. We were warned that if the skipping of his heart intensified, then he would be thrown into congestive heart failure.
Finally on September 3, 1999, our waiting came to an end. After only 51 minutes of labor, Eric Joseph made his appearance into the world. As the pediatrician did his initial check over, the nurse attending me said, "Sharon, his heart is beating perfectly." We were thrilled with God’s gift. Despite the dire predictions of the doctors our son was born healthy and he has never had an issue with his heart since. We don't know what transpired during that pregnancy, but we are assured that our son came into the world experiencing the healing hand of our wonderful Creator.
Jealously Guard God’s Gift
When I was pregnant with our second son the doctors told us that he had a problem with his heart. They then sent us to a medical office for genetic counseling. I went through many weeks of crying and worry thinking about what they might find. When my husband and I met with the genetics counselor she told me that "most" children with this heart issue are either born with Down syndrome or another of three or four trysomy disorders. She never talked about abortion but she did make it clear that babies with these disorders don't live long.
After we met with this counselor they called us into the room for our 3-D ultra sound. The lady was really talkative, showing us all the parts of our wonderful gift from God. Finally, the technician left and told us the doctor would be in shortly. He took forever to come back but when he came in the door the first thing he said to us was, "Congratulations, you have a perfectly healthy baby. The spot on the heart is a calcium deposit and is harmless.” Our baby was born June 27th 2011 and his heart is perfectly healthy.
In the weeks I waited for my ultra sound I wrote these words, "God I trust in you. You know how much I want to hold this baby in my arms, alive and healthy, to spend many years with him, to see him grow in your Word and serve you. If this is a test, give me strength to pass it. Give me strength to confront what comes our way. I know you have his life planned and you know what you are doing. Thank you for the opportunity to carry him within me, to feel him move and know the awesomeness of my God and Creator. How someone could not understand that this little life is a miracle and gift from you is beyond my imagination. I will protect and guard his life jealously in your name. He is your gift to me. Thank you, Father."
Cottage Grove, Oregon, USA
Spina Bifida Blessing
We brought Ariana Dominique home to live with us on July 28, 2005. We are very grateful the biological mother did not abort her baby, even though she knew she was having a baby with Spina Bifida. At only 15 days, Ariana was skinny and very quiet. She had failed to thrive in the NICU at the hospital, barely taking any formula during her feedings. Immediately upon arriving home, we pulled her from the car seat and almost never put her down. From the first feeding she ate with a robust appetite and in no time at all was a beautiful, plump baby doll!
Ariana was born with Spina Bifida and bilateral club feet. Both legs were casted when we brought her home in order to shape and form her very deformed legs. She virtually had no feet, only toes at the end of her misshapen legs. In the first year, she had many castings, braces, and one surgery that resulted in normal legs and fairly normal feet. She was an absolute trooper through it all. In fact, during her six years of life so far, she has taught me the true meaning of courage and strength.
The Lord has blessed Ariana with a contented, peaceful disposition that makes her a joy to raise. Her first name, Ariana means “sweet melody” and Dominique means “belonging to God,” and she fits that description perfectly. She brings out the best in the people around her and even in strangers. When I am in town running errands people often come up to me to ask about Ariana. She approaches life with such sweetness and joy that it naturally attracts people to her. They often ask if they can buy her a cookie or give her some token they have with them.
One day a man came up to me and wanted to know what was wrong with my daughter. I told him about her Spina Bifida and he was awed by her vivacity and the fact that she did not feel sorry for herself. He then proceeded to tell me that he was diagnosed with cancer that very day and was sitting at the coffee shop feeling sorry for himself. He told me that seeing Ariana and meeting her changed everything for him!
Ariana has been greatly blessed by our Lord. She wears braces which enable her to walk quite well. This past summer we enjoyed a vacation up in Sequoia country. We went to a meadow where the only place you could walk was on the fallen logs. Ariana walked on all the logs! She rides a scooter, a bike and even horses! She loves the Lord and is great at memorizing Scripture.
Ariana is an amazing and beautiful person that God created for His glory. Her life brings Him glory every day. Many people who learn they are having a child with Spina Bifida abort them. They have doomed themselves to an existence devoid of the joy that their child would have brought them. My life and my family’s life, is richer and more meaningful because Ariana is part of it. Thank you, Jesus, for giving to us your very special gift–Ariana Dominique.
Aguanga, California, USA
Praise God for Pro Life Doctor
While expecting our third baby in 1995, I had an Alpha-fetal blood test done and the results showed much higher risk for Down syndrome than expected. I was certainly troubled and sought Christian counsel and prayer. The doctor said, "We can run the test again but only in this short time in your pregnancy. If you knew the baby had Down syndrome, would you do anything about it?" He could not even bring himself to say the word abortion and he knew I was not considering it.
"No, I would not do anything about it," I told him. Following the second test, the results were somewhat improved, but still high, so the doctor did an extra-detailed sonogram with his expert sinologist. This expert measured and took photos and said things like, "The brain size is correct and the heart's four chambers are functioning nicely. And I can see there's no cleft palate!" She saw so many normal things but could not declare it did not have Down syndrome.
The labor was especially difficult and I was thankful to finally hold this child in my arms. Audrey has been a source of joy for me and has had no sign of any neuro-spinal problems or Down syndrome. I was thankful especially for a pro-life husband, a pro-life doctor and the doctor's pro-life staff! I refused the test with my fourth child and delivered a boy after three girls!
MARY ANN AVERY
Dickson, Tennessee, USA