It was a hot summer day in January 1999 when my world froze… The pregnancy test flashed positive for the 3rd time. I’ll
My inspiration for this site is my daughter Sarai, my first child, who was born at 22 weeks and did not survive the delivery.
When I fell pregnant with Sarai I’d been married for seven months and was so happy and excited about the pregnancy. But at 17 weeks, in the middle of the night, my waters broke.
When the doctor examined me at the hospital, he told us, with tears in his eyes and genuine sympathy, that her chances of survival were zero. Zero is a very definite number when you hear it from a doctor. He said it with every good intention to give us realistic expectations, and in his experience, which I’m sure was extensive, he thought it to be true (although since then I have heard of babies surviving in very similar circumstances). It was so devastating for us. Why had this happened?
The options given to us were to a) continue with the pregnancy at the risk of developing an infection myself, and which would eventually result in our baby’s death anyway, or, in the best case scenario, have our baby survive with severe disabilities, or b) to induce the labour, speed up the unavoidable and have the baby die naturally and save myself the emotional anguish of carrying a baby who would die regardless (according to them).
The first option seemed pointless and emotionally unbearable, as well as dangerous to my health. My first reaction was – well this pregnancy did not work out. If she is going to die regardless, why not just induce the labour? I can be back at work tomorrow and continue on with my life.
But in my heart I questioned how I would ever know for sure whether the doctor was right, if I took the situation into my own hands and chose to induce the labour, and in the process, speed up my daughter’s death. She was still alive, her heart was still beating in my womb.
I was so blessed with people around me, most of all my husband who supported me, helped me to be strong, and encouraged me to continue with the pregnancy. But I felt shame about my initial reaction and thoughts. Had I been left to my own devices I believe I may very well have gone through with inducing the labor prematurely. It is true her chances of survival were small, however they were not zero.
I believe God protected me from making a choice that I would have lived to regret deeply. Even though my baby did not survive, I can’t underestimate how much harder the situation would have been if it had been compounded by guilt.
I have come to realise that I wasn’t considering all the factors, when I had my initial reaction, and I didn’t really understand what the long term implications of inducing the labour would have been. I believe there are many women who go forward with abortion not realising what they are doing. And for that they are not to blame.
I will always remember, treasure and be grateful for Sarai. It is true, that she passed away, but if we hadn’t continued the pregnancy, we would have missed out on amazing moments of feeling her kick, speaking to her, and loving her.
She was the first to teach me what it is to love as a mother, a love I never knew possible. I have had five beautiful children since, and I believe the way I love them is in part owed to Sarai.
The experience of having her taught me something which I already knew. That life begins at conception. At 6 weeks I had a scan, and her heart was already beating. After she passed away we had a beautiful funeral, which was attended by 150 friends and family, and which the funeral directors said was one of the most beautiful they had witnessed. To me, this is amazing, considering that even in hospitals a life isn’t considered viable before 24 weeks.
When you hold a 22 week old baby in your arms, and you see their face, hands, fingers, fingernails, feet, toes, a baby that is a combination of you and your partner, that is 100% herself, you know that baby is a baby, not just cells. The cells are present from the moment of conception and nothing is added or subtracted from that embryo. The baby just needs to grow.
I don’t want to shame anyone about decisions they make, since I know how easy it would have been to give in when the doctors were asking if we wanted to induce the labour, given the circumstances and the options presented. Believe me, I was filled with fear at the prospect of having a child who could be very handicapped because of having been without amniotic fluid, if she did survive. Fear is such a powerful thing, but love overcomes all fears and obstacles. Because when I held my baby’s beautiful, tiny body, I knew for a fact that I would have loved her regardless of whether she had been ‘perfect’ or not.
I began this website because, I want to tell the truth about what life is, having seen her, kissed her and held her in my arms. I want to encourage parents, especially mothers, who are in a difficult pregnancy situation, those who may have an unexpected pregnancy, those who have been told their unborn baby is less than stereo-typically ‘perfect’.
Even in the circle of people I know, I’ve heard of situations in which pregnant women have found themselves in difficult or seemingly impossible circumstances, and despite this have continued with their pregnancies and have come out happy on the other side. I feel it’s important to share these stories to encourage other women, who, like I was at the time of my first pregnancy, are looking for a ray of hope anywhere they can find it.
There are so many situations which make pregnancies and parenting less than perfect. But despite this, I’ve seen that it’s possible welcome your baby into the world, to love, to be grateful and to be happy.
What situation were you in?
What helped you to get through?
What situation are you in now?
– Thanks for sharing!