Light in a dark place
by Brandy Williams, PACN Finance Manager
Last year my mom and I went to see the movie October Baby. It’s about a young woman who finds out she is a survivor of a failed abortion. During the movie, the nurse who assisted in the abortions describes her conversation with the birth mother. She explains that it was her job to listen to the woman that was going to have the abortion and reassure her that this was the best option for her right now.
That scene caused me to be broken for our clients. This is the advice that they are often hearing from medical professionals, parents, significant others and friends. It is very powerful and unnerving to hear that you should abort your baby when you are in an anxiety-filled situation.
Twice now I have been told that it may be best to abort my baby.
During my first pregnancy, my husband and I were so excited to go to our 20-week appointment. We were going to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. Most of our family was sure it was going to be a boy. We had a boy’s name picked out since the day we found out we were pregnant.
The night before our 20-week appointment, we finally agreed on a girl’s name, just in case we were all wrong. We arrived at St. Luke’s for our ultrasound. The doctor scanned the baby and announced that we were having a girl. She then began to do the 20-week measurements. Her countenance seemed to drop and she scanned for quite a while.
We asked her if everything was ok but she asked us to wait and speak with the genetic counselor. The genetic counselor came in the room and explained that our baby’s abdomen and head were measuring below the 2nd percentile.
I asked if it was possible that they had my dates wrong and she explained that the rest of her measurements confirmed the due date and conception date. She let us know that if we choose to continue our pregnancy that our baby would likely be stillborn and, if she survived, she would be severely mentally retarded. We were encouraged to get further testing done and consider an abortion.
I asked the genetic counselor what the chances were that she would be survive and have a normal life. The genetic counselor reply was that it would take a miracle.
My husband and I were in shock. We left the hospital feeling scared and angry at God. We thought of all the dreams we had for our child – that she would play guitar like her daddy and ride a horse with her PawPaw. That she would graduate from college and get married.
On the way home my husband told me that we were going shopping. We were going to celebrate that we were having a baby girl and we were going to buy an outfit for Ella.
From that day until I was 34 weeks pregnant, we chose to believe that God had a purpose for Ella’s life and we would pray for her healing but trust God for to complete His purpose for her life. After the 20-week ultrasound I was told to see a specialist twice a week. At these appointments they did 3D/4D ultrasounds to check on Ella. The plan was to deliver her early and let her continue her fight outside the womb, where doctors would be able to assist her.
At 34 weeks, after asking for the elders of our church to pray over Ella, I went to my specialist appointment. The doctor again quietly measured Ella. She was not engaging in her normal banter with us and was very quiet. We feared the worst.
After what seemed like an eternity and repeating measurements over and over again, she looked at us and said Ella was measuring just right. She had gone from below the 2nd percentile to the near the 50th in a matter of days. All her parts were now measuring what they should.
Ella Sadie Williams, our miracle, was born February 5, 2009. She is healthy and has no signs of mental retardation (she is a genius, if you ask her grandparents).
In early 2012, we found out we were pregnant again. In 2011 we had two miscarriages. We were told that this pregnancy was progressing better than the last two, but that it was not looking good. My doctor told me that it was probably an ectopic pregnancy. She said it would be safest for me to get an injection that would stop the pregnancy.
I was heartbroken. I didn’t want to end my baby’s life before it was time. I had already seen that God could step in and heal if it was a part of His plan. I wrestled with the thought of choosing my health and wellbeing over my baby’s life.
I switched doctors and my new doctor told me that we would do an ultrasound to see if the pregnancy was ectopic and that we would only end the pregnancy if we knew that it was ectopic and there was no way the baby would survive. My pregnancy was not ectopic and ended in a miscarriage.
My baby, my gift from God, went to be with God on February 21, 2012.
After both of these experiences, I realized the significance of a support system when situations like this happen. It is hard to imagine how I would have responded the first – or even the second – time I was advised to abort, without a family that supported me and believed with me that God has a plan and purpose for each life He creates.
I thought of our clients, how often they have significant others, parents and even medical professionals telling them that they should consider an abortion, that this baby may inconvenience and completely change their lives.
They have even been told, like I was, that their baby, if he/she survives, will need a lot of extra care and medical assistance and will never having the quality of life that a “normal” child has. How difficult it must be to make this decision without a supportive family, or more importantly, knowing the God that gives life.
Each person who comes to PACN meets with supportive consultant who encourages them that there is hope. That we will support them through the pregnancy. And that every life is a gift from God.
Editor’s note: Along with their daughter Ella, Brandy and Craig celebrated the birth of their son, Gatchel, on February 20, 2013. The family is doing well and Ella loves to introduce everyone to her sweet baby brother. This article also ran in the Spring | Summer 2012 issue of And the beat goes on…
Craig and Brandy’s son, Gatchel, and daughter, Ella