Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Not what you were searching for but maybe what somebody needs

Someone came searching for "having a baby after an abortion because of trisomy 18".

I'm not going there. I understand that doctors pressure parents into aborting babies that have Trisomy 18 and other fatal disorders, but that's not what I'm about. I know that most parents making an abortion decision after a fatal diagnosis are doing the best they can based on what they've been told, but abortion is an act of despair and that's not any way to uplift anybody. Even in the bleakest of circumstances, there can be blessings. There can even be joy. And that's the aspect of Trisomy 18 I'd like to look at.

  • Jordan's father tells their story. It began with the wonderful news of the pregnancy, which became a struggle when Jen developed hyperemesis gravidarum. The couple had to battle to get the insurance company to cover her needed medication -- inadequately, it turned out, and they had no help from their doctor, who was pressuring Jen to abort. Then came the terrible diagnosis of Trisomy 18. The doctor stepped up the pressure to abort, refusing to even try to get Jen her desperately needed HG medication and denying her disability in order to pressure her to abort what she (the doctor) considered a "pointless" pregnancy. At last Jen and her husband found a compassionate doctor who worked to provide proper care for mother and baby, and hooked them up with a Trisomy 18 support group. And even though Jen developed further complications, her new team valued Jordan's life and did everything they could to make it as long and healthy as possible. Thanks to their care, Jordan was delivered alive by c-section, and had time to spend being loved by his family. They treasured the 32 blessed hours.

  • Frederica Mathewes-Green compares life with Trisomy 18 to the alternative -- ways to abort such children. Nick, the child's father, notes, "she has also had a profound and life‑changing effect on us, our friends, our family, and our church. I like to say, ‘St. Katherine the Evangelist is doing her work.’"

  • Grace's family was pressured hard to abort, but held firm and got to shower their daughter with love during her brief life.

  • At the time Mari's mom wrote her story, Mari was 17 months old.

  • Abigail Rose's mother tells the story of loving her baby, even though she died shortly before birth.

  • Kaylen is a big sister to two siblings in spite of her full Trisomy 18!

  • Caleb's mom was told he had Trisomy 18 and urged to abort. She chose life, and though Caleb did have hydrocephaly, this is not fatal. Caleb will face challenges, with a loving family to support him.

  • Dawson is two years old; multiple surgeries to correct various problems have really helped him to hang in there and spend time loving his family.

  • Josh provided an excellent link: Trisomy18Hope. Some treatment teams are now, on a case-by-case basis, providing surgical treatment for Trisomy 18-associated heart problems, with the goal of improving the child's quality of life. Here is an abstract of a study (available as PDF) on the increased longevity of babies with Trisomy 18 or Trisomy 13 if provided with cardiac treatment. A pediatrician also reviews the special concerns of parents of children who are at the cutting edge of Trisomy 18 survival. These babies are no longer being written off as not worthy of care!

    Finally, there is Eliot's story:

    One thing I like about the Trisomy 18 support site is that although it takes a "prochoice" stance on whether to abort the child or to give him or her a chance, it does something that I've seen very rarely: Warns parents not to make a permanent choice while they're still in shock. So many parents tell stories of being pressured to schedule an abortion right away, while they're still reeling. Here, the page about aborting reminds parents, "Another thing to note: while interrupting does end the pregnancy sooner, it does not lessen nor shorten the grieving process afterwards, for you are still grieving the loss of your precious child. It is important to also consider these emotional issues while making your decision." This honesty is refreshing.

    (An interesting aside -- Stories I've seen in which the parents chose to abort after a grave prenatal diagnosis, in almost every case they were convinced by medical professionals that the baby was actively suffering and that aborting was a mercy to end the horrible pain. Strangely, though abortion activists come out of the woodwork to "debunk" any studies indicating that abortion causes the baby pain, I've never seen them step forward to "debunk" these doctors' assertions that prenatal conditions cause pain. If having a heart defect or other prenatal condition causes horrible agony, how can having your arms and legs twisted off be painless?)

    The Trisomy 18 site also has excellent advice on carrying to term and making a birth plan.

    UPDATE: I've found this press release from the Trisomy 18 Foundation celebrating the passage of the Brownback/Kennedy Bill, providing information and support to parents who are given a grave prenatal diagnosis for their children.

    Josh Bradley said...

    Great Blog....check out our site....www.trisomy18hope.org

    GrannyGrump said...

    Let me turn that into a link for you. Thanx!