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Challenge: Pregnancy and Infant Loss

When my pregnancy got complicated, I went against my doctor's advice

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I was 18 weeks pregnant when I was told to “just terminate” the life of my unborn baby.

In the moments before those words were spoken, I had heard the rhythmic sound of my baby's heart beating. I had watched his heart dance on the screen during an ultrasound that both confirmed his health and my body's deficiency.

My womb was without amniotic fluid and yet my baby was alive, and according to the doctor, healthy.

But despite the fact that my child continued to live and grow within my womb, I was told to terminate his life because there was very little chance he would survive pregnancy. And if by some miracle he did, he would most certainly endure a life of suffering marked by severe disabilities.

That same doctor went on to say that he had seen a case similar to mine where the baby both survived and thrived, growing into a healthy child with no long-term disabilities.

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“But that won't be the case for you,” he said. He made that statement with a tone of certainty, but he wasn't in a position to predict the future. He wasn't God.

I rejected the recommendation to terminate the life of my child and was sent home to wait for labor to begin naturally.

I searched online for stories similar to mine. Stories of women who had experienced pre-term premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) and their outcomes. Despite the many stories in which babies died, there were countless others in which the babies had survived, some with disabilities in varying degrees and some with no disabilities at all.

Based on the information the doctor had given me, I wasn't expecting a miracle. I wasn't expecting my baby to survive. I wasn't expecting a good outcome. But life doesn't always turn out as expected, and I was in no position to make a decision based on assumptions.

I could not end the life of a baby who continued to grow within me and whose heart continued to beat wildly. I HEARD that heartbeat and I FELT my baby moving. And although survival wasn't probable, death wasn't guaranteed. I wasn't willing to end the life of a baby who was ALIVE.

Because I believed in the sanctity of life more than I believed in the predictions or recommendations of a doctor. I believed that my child had been created for a purpose, by a God whose purposes I don't often understand.

Two weeks later, my baby died. It was a moment that I had prepared myself for, but that I couldn't have ever truly been prepared for. I was devastated as I counted the fingers and toes of a tiny child who was without breath. I handed my baby back to the nurse and soon after, left the hospital no longer carrying the child that had lived within me for more than 20 weeks.

I was a mother and my baby had died. And naturally, I was heartbroken. The following months were heavy. I felt hollow. I was without a child that had only ever called my womb home.

And yet, I had the privilege of carrying my child for as long as God had allowed. It wasn't for as long as I would have liked, and if I'd had the choice you can bet I would have chosen to spend a lifetime with my child here on earth.

But it wasn't my choice. It was God's. And somewhere in the muck and the mud of child loss, there was peace in knowing that the life of my child was in God's hands.

The loss of my child will always hurt, yet I can rest in the fact that he was loved and cared for by me, his mother. I valued that little life, even after others dismissed it. And I will never regret that.

This post was originally published on A Beautifully Burdened Life. Be sure to follow Jenny on Facebook for more on her incomplete family and imperfect motherhood.

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