47 hours with a prince
(LifeSiteNews.com) - “Your husband isn’t with you?” The doctor looked concerned. Hannah Boland had decided to go alone for her follow-up appointment.
Only a short while before, a pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage. But this pregnancy was different. They were out of the danger zone. The baby was already twenty weeks gestation. Alison and Harry, Hannah’s two toddlers, aged three and two respectively, were going to have another sibling.
“I like having the husband or partner present in these sorts of situations. We detected a problem with your baby’s scan,” the doctor continued. “There seems to be a problem with his brain.”
An information sheet was pushed in front of Hannah.
The baby’s brain had not developed, the doctor explained. The condition could not be altered. It was unlikely he would be born alive. If he survived birth, he would have a few, short, painful moments to live.
“I was in total shock,” Hannah told LifeSiteNews, “This sort of thing happens to other people.”
Hannah and her husband, Michael, both devout Christians, raise their family in a semi-rural area outside Sydney, Australia. Michael is the sole breadwinner, working as a mechanic who specializes in elevators. Hannah is a stay-at-home mom, who was taking care of their two toddlers at the time of the diagnosis.
This diagnosis put her faith to the test.
The couple’s main struggle was how to cope with the uncertainties that lay ahead. But Hannah says the Bible gave them hope. She clung to the passage, “He will not tempt you beyond your strength.”
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Abortion was never an option for the Bolands. “With our first child, we went through those questions because they can do prenatal testing.” Those tests were “a waste of time,” she said. “We knew that that was not something God would want us to do…Who are we to say that that person is not worthy to live?”
Almost every doctor they met recommended an abortion. Hannah says one doctor said at a consultation, “Tell me why I am here? I don’t even know why I am here. There is no hope for your baby. No. None. There is a 99.9 per cent chance of your baby dying right after he is born. It is likely that he will just gurgle a little and then die. I won’t even be present at his birth; there is no point.”
The doctors also thought there was no point in giving the baby oxygen in the event that he lived after birth. One doctor suggested simply letting the baby starve.
Prayers and tears were all the couple was left with. They loved their son and wanted what was best for him. They had to decide on their own what that would mean.
In the end they decided to feed, love and serve him. The one real struggle was resuscitation. Was it in his best interest to bring him back? Their final decision: “We would not do anything intentionally to end Stephen’s life.”
The birth took three days. When Stephen was born, “he stunned the theater staff with his loud, healthy cry. It was a far cry from the gurgling, dying cry they had expected to see,” Hannah recounted in a book she later published about her son.
Their son looked healthy and beautiful. Tears rolled down Michael’s cheek and family members trickled in and out to meet and cuddle the new baby. Stephen’s brother and sister were excited to meet him, but too young to fully process what was going on. They only understood that he was very sick.
Hours later, Stephen began to fuss, a signal that it was feeding time. The nurses inserted a feeding tube through Stephen’s nose. It seemed to nourish and settle him.
“He was feeding. He was well. I was going to be able to bring him home and take care of him!” Hannah wrote.
However, the initial signs were misleading. Stephen began spitting up his food and it became apparent that he was not assimilating any nutrition. It was only a matter of time.
Hannah recounts being tired and frazzled, not knowing how to handle a child that was slipping away. Her husband showed her how. He gently took his son and said, “Well, mate, you’re still here for a reason. And as long as you are still here, I am going to serve you as best I can.” He cradled him and swabbed his dry lips.
It was a time to be completely selfless, which Hannah admits was difficult especially after the long labor. She is ashamed to recount, “Here was my son dying, suffering, and once again all I could think about was how it was hard on me.”
During short intervals Stephen stopped breathing, but would revive again and again. After several hours of cradling Stephen, Michael turned to his wife. Their son was gone. He slipped away in the arms of his father, close to his mother. He had arrived at his final destination. In some ways, their journey had only just begun.
This month marks the one-year anniversary of Stephen’s birth. Hannah has written an account of his life, 47 Hours with a Prince, and is training to be a Christian Counselor.
“I want to help people in the way I have been helped,” she says, explaining that a Christian Counselor helped her though the many months of grieving that followed the death of Stephen. She hopes to help those with emotional illness, noting, “the emotional side of us is just as prone to illness as any part of us.”
There are many messages she wants to give, and one is about acceptance. “We have to look at things through God’s eyes or you are going to make decisions that you are going to regret.”
As for the book, it has met with success in Hannah’s mind. “I have non-Christian friends coming away saying they will give deep consideration to it.”
‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’
AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life.
“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September.
“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote.
Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds.
The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again.
After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test.
“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.
The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five.
“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”
“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.
Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.”
“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”
“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.”
“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.”
“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born.
The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well.
UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react
GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads.
The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution.
“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.
“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.
But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it.
The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”
Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.
“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms.
“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added.
Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born.
“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.
“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.
Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’
DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.
“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.
"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.
That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.
“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."
Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.
All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.
Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.
On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”
Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.
At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.
But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.