We were told during a 3D ultrasound in December that our baby could have a heart defect, as the ultrasound tech could not detect the four separate chambers of his heart. I tried blocking it out of my mind for the next month or so, but sooner or later I was going to have to face that reality. On January 27th, at 26 weeks gestation, the news of our child’s heart defect was confirmed, two holes and a common valve that needed to be made into two valves.
Prior to getting this news the ultrasound technician was very thorough in showing us all of the different body parts of our baby. There’s his little hand, and elbow, and his feet and toes….look at his nose and eyes. At that point I knew there was something wrong with him and figured it was only the heart as she pointing out every little detail of our baby. She printed some pictures, then the doctor came in. He looked over the images and gave us the official news about his heart.
Next the doctor told us that with this heart defect it is very likely that he will have Down syndrome. He requested for Joyce to do an Amniocentesis test to confirm if he had Down syndrome or not. We refused the test knowing that there is a chance of causing a miscarriage and we weren’t willing to risk that just so we could ‘know’ that our baby had Down syndrome. We were already fairly certain he had Down syndrome and the test wasn’t going to change anything. After refusing the test more than once the doctor gave us the option to ‘terminate’ the pregnancy. That option wasn’t, and never will be, on the table for us. What shocked me is how many moms and dads choose that option after getting the news that the mother is carrying a baby with Down syndrome. I’ll address that later in this entry….
So here we were, smack dab in the middle of a huge life changing moment. You can either ignore it or accept it. I chose to ignore it after we found out about it, and frankly we were so worried about his heart defect we didn’t even worry about what the Down syndrome side of it meant. Now that Jonah’s heart has been fixed we can focus on the aspects of Down syndrome and what life will look like for him in the future. It’s also time to breathe life and truth into our culture regarding Down syndrome which has brought death to so many unborn children out of ignorance, fear and even coercion, whether it be from spouses, family, friends and even doctors themselves.
Now Down syndrome has a face that I get to see every day, and let me tell you I am blessed! I have known a few families with a child that has Down syndrome, but never really got close to that family or their child with Down syndrome. Not that I tried to stay away or anything, it just happened that way. We have gotten the support of a precious family from church with a two-year old son with Down syndrome and also have been in touch with another family who were given a diagnosis of Down syndrome and a heart defect for their son which coincided with Jonah’s; His name is Mason and he was born four days before Jonah.
In saying all of this I will now say that a few years ago God called me to be a voice for babies in the womb who have no voice. I have been pleading life and hope at abortion mills ever since. What brought me to a place of brokenness and weeping was looking at the images of babies that had been killed by abortion. Perfect little babies senselessly destroyed! I could not believe my eyes! I thought surely the church hasn’t seen these images, because if they did they would be present at these mills. But that wasn’t the case at all. The church is aware that abortions are taking place, but most state they are not called to ‘that’ ministry. It’s not the instant gratification of feeding the hungry or healing the sick, but it is a mandate by God to protect His image bearers. (Proverbs 24:11-12, James 1:27, Proverbs 31:8-9) The church is called to expose the fruitless deeds of darkness like abortion (Ephesians 5:11); not to sit on standby and wait for our government to change the law, because like slavery that’s never going to happen until the church rises up.
I have seen God do amazing things through those who willfully stand in the name of Jesus at these mills. Truth always prevails over the lies of the devil. When the truth is heard, hearts are changed; the mother’s heart will either be softened and turned towards God’s truth, and in turn to her very own son or daughter, or it will hardened and the truth will be ignored and replaced with the lies of the enemy which will justify her actions. (Deuteronomy 30:19) God would never approve (this never came to God’s mind – Jeremiah 7:31) of a mother and father killing a child in the womb or any other child; as parents we are appointed by God to be the provider and protector of our children and to be willing to lay down our lives for them at any given moment in time. Abortion teaches society to lay down the lives of our children as sacrifices so the parents can live as they want to live. That is Satan’s plan..to do anything and everything to tear apart the family structure.
Some women I’ve spoken with myself have said they prayed and they felt God said it was okay to kill their child. Others have been counseled by pastors to do the same. What a travesty! We as God’s creation are killing those who were made in His image, all for the sake of convenience or finances or because the baby isn’t ‘perfect’ in the eyes of this world.
Being in this battle I already knew that babies that were diagnosed prior to birth with Down syndrome were being aborted at a very high rate. I didn’t learn until recently how high that percentage is…90%! Yes 90% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb are aborted because the parents were made aware of the presence of a third 21st chromosome. Would doctors and our society condone this practice after the baby is born? Most would not, so why is it an accepted practice to do inside of the womb? This test is being used as a resource (yes, there are some that will get this diagnosis just to know for sure without the intent to abort) with the intent to make the birth of a child with Down syndrome very rare or even non-existent! As a friend of ours said on Sunday, children with Down syndrome are becoming an “endangered species”. Yes, our nation protects wildlife such as turtles and the bald eagle and even the eggs of the bald eagle (pre-born bald eagles) more than it protects the pre-born humans. The most violent and dangerous place to be in America is in the womb! This link reports that 29 abortions occur to every 100 births in America as of 2005. That is around 22 babies out of every 100 aborted. For babies that were pre-diagnosed with Down syndrome that number climbs to 90 out of a 100 babies aborted. Yes, only 10 babies out of 100 will exit the womb alive…what part of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is this referring too?
Here’s a quote from a recent Nobel Prize winner for the development of in vitro fertilization named Robert Edwards. He was the scientist who facilitated the birth of the first test tube baby that was born in July of 1978. He said: Those who fail to terminate a Down syndrome child are “sinners” and “genetic outlaws.” Do doctors in our nation agree with this statement? With the 90% statistic it seems that most doctors make having a child with Down syndrome sound very hopeless. And if like our doctor the first option was to abort, even not knowing for sure about the Down syndrome diagnosis, I am sure many unsuspecting and fragile parents are easily swayed by the doctor they trust into going through with an abortion. If Robert Edwards was making the laws he would probably criminalize birthing a child with Down syndrome and would advocate forced abortions of babies with any kind of disability.
The trials we’ve been through (and are going through, and will continue to go through) with Jonah have strengthened me in this battle, to not only be an advocate for my son and others who are diagnosed with Down Syndrome, but to continue to be a voice for all those who can’t speak for themselves. Thank you Jesus for the precious gift of life!
And as a quick update on Jonah, he isn’t eating as much as we would like but we are seeing signs of him slowly turning the corner. He gained an ounce and a half this past week, which isn’t much but it is a step in the right direction. His cardiologist called us to see how he was doing and said if he doesn’t make significant progress at next week’s weigh-in we may need to start talking about the feeding tube; something we don’t want but it may be the best for him and our sanity :). Please keep the little guy in your prayers! God bless!