Wed Aug 17, 2011 - 6:38 pm EST
Abortion never had a chance with us: our experience having a disabled child
August 17, 2011 (HLIAmerica.org)- Let me just start off saying that abortion never had a chance with us.
We found out in November 2005 that we were going to have a baby. I had just gotten out of the Army, and we had settled in Cibolo, Texas - right near San Antonio. When we first started trying to have a baby, we were surprised at how long it took. I have always joked about my little “swimmers,” and how they were probably swimming in circles. So we prayed, and we told Jesus that if he blessed us with a baby, we would educate our child about Jesus and raise him/her Catholic. Shortly after, we learned that Becky was pregnant.
Becky was the office manager for an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor and she continued to work. She had always eaten well, and maintained a very active lifestyle of running, walking, biking, and working out; so we felt very good about everything. Around March 2006, however, we went in for a sonogram and our entire happy existence came crashing down around us.
Becky’s doctor said that it was hard to tell, but she thought that she saw a cleft lip and palate. But just to be sure, she was going to send us to a specialist, who told us that not only did our baby girl have a cleft lip and palate, but she also had no stomach, and problems with her heart. He needed us to come back in a week to try another test.
After a very difficult week of waiting, the doctor reaffirmed his earlier suspicions ended the visit telling us we had “options.” We asked, “What do you mean, options”? And then it clicked. He was referring to abortion.
We asked the “specialist” if we would lose our baby prematurely due to the seriousness of the problems. He said that that would more than likely happen, to which we replied that if this baby wasn’t going to make it, it would be God’s decision to terminate, not ours. We had, after all, made a promise to Jesus.
I think we went back for one more visit, where the specialist saw the stomach. He had to wait for Laci to open her mouth and swallow some of the amniotic fluid, and he saw it. So now all our little girl had was a common facial birth defect. Why would a doctor suggest abortion on such a preliminary diagnosis?
But soon after, in July, Becky developed preeclampsia and was put on bed rest on a Wednesday with a stress test set up for that Sunday. During the appointment, the doctor said that Laci was in distress, and he needed to pray about what to do. So he left the room for about 20 minutes, came back and said we were going into surgery. About half an hour later, Laci Faith Lowell was born. She was about one month early, and weighed 3lbs. 15oz, and she had the most beautiful bilateral cleft lip - it was perfectly symmetrical. About an hour later she had problems breathing and was on a MEDEVAC to Christus Santa Rosa, where she would stay for two months.
Once at Santa Rosa we started to learn of some other health problems Laci had going on. In addition to the cleft lip and palate, she was deaf, possibly blind, and had heart problems (ASD, VSD, PDA, pulmonary stenosis). We were very concerned with her brain function, and a CT scan proved “all the parts to be there” for which we were very grateful.
When we first learned about all of her problems, I was very angry. Not with Becky, or with Laci, but with God. And I said it … out loud. We even went to our church to chat with our priest. I pretty much demanded answers from him. I now realize that I wasn’t really rational at that point.
We visited Laci every single day she was in the NICU, and we stayed as long as they would let us. I slept on her little table with her, Becky held her “kangaroo style” (skin to skin), we talked to her and kissed her, and held her. As time progressed, we realized that this was a little human, despite all the issues, and she needed us to hold and love her, to be her everything.
We left the NICU in September with the order to get our baby up to 10 lbs, so she could have heart surgery. We did, and her surgery was a success; however, she was left with a leaky pulmonary valve, which will have to be replaced periodically throughout her life.
We enrolled Laci in a place called Sunshine Cottage, a school for the deaf in San Antonio, TX, where we learned that Laci was in fact deaf in her left ear, but that she did have some hearing in her right. Basically, she could hear anything louder than a jet engine from her right ear. Furthermore, we learned that Laci did have some sight out of her right eye. There was no telling how much, but she was recognizing our faces and reaching for toys. Laci was fitted with hearing aids while we waited for her to get old enough for a Cochlear Implant.
At this point Becky and Laci were heavily involved with ECI (Early Childhood Intervention- a Texas based program). We had a couple surgeries to fix her cleft lip and palate, and then we got a Cochlear Implant! What a change that made! She started crawling soon after and became very interested in communicating with us. That little brain was working. She started Preschool at Sunshine Cottage, and has just graduated Pre-K, getting ready for Kindergarten next year. She is doing well, keeping up with her classmates both orally and visually. In some cases, being the youngest in her class, she is doing more than expected of her!
So here we are today with our beautiful Laci Faith Lowell. We are thankful that God never took her from us. We are thankful that she is doing so well. We are amazed by Laci every day. Laci says and does things that other kids don’t do. She just turned 5, and she commonly uses the following words correctly: great, fabulous, delicious, amazing, thanks, no thanks, and many, many, more. Her favorite color is any shade of green, and she loves TinkerBell and princesses. Laci is learning to fish with me, and has no fear of the bait, or the fish itself - although we are working on patience. We are so blessed to have her in our lives. The way we look at it, God gave us Jesus to be closer to Him, and Jesus gave us Laci so we could be closer to Jesus.
Abortion never had a chance.
Reprinted with permission from HLI America