The NZ Herald recently reported a beautiful good news story of a courageous young mother who chose to give life to her unborn baby after being told by her doctors that the child she was carrying, if it survived, would only live for a short time after she was born.
In a situation which must have been incredibly frightening, the mother, Toni, was told at a 16 week scan that one side of her baby’s brain was growing faster than the other. At another scan Toni discovered there was no amniotic fluid around the baby. Other scans revealed no facial bones, organs missing and underdeveloped lungs. Toni was diagnosed with Premature Rupture of the Membranes (PPROM), a condition which effects 2 out of every 100 pregnancies.
Toni was told there was no hope.
When medical experts believe there is no hope, the answer generally is to “terminate”.
This brave mother, when told by three medical experts to end the life of her baby, stood firm in her role to protect, love and nurture her little one. She chose life despite the fear of the unknown.
With the support of her family, they discovered online cases overseas which gave them hope. But Janine, Toni’s mother, recalls how adamant the medical professionals were
My daughter was bawling and the woman said: ‘This is not a Woman’s Weekly article, this is not going to be a miracle pregnancy, this baby is not going to survive’.
But at 32 weeks baby Ava was born. She had none of the anomalies diagnosed prior to birth, although she did have a horseshoe kidney, something the scans didn’t pick up. Because Ava was eight weeks premature, she spent time in NICU, but she was strong and was able to go home after two weeks.
At a time when prenatal screening is routine, this story (and the countless more that are similar), should serve as a warning for medical professionals, for parents and for families. All too often, a prenatal diagnosis of an impairment, disability or life-limiting condition ends in abortion. Often this is because of pressure from the medical experts, from a lack of information about the conditions and a fear of the unknown.
But Baby Ava’s story shows that sometimes doctors get it wrong.
And even if they don’t get it wrong, why is the answer abortion?
Motherhood begins at the moment new life is conceived. Mothers love, they protect, they nurture their children. Toni, has shown mothers everywhere, who face the unknown, how to do this courageously.
An update of Toni and Baby Ava’s story can be found here.