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Peter Baklinski

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‘We were blessed to have met them’: Parents of premature triplets find meaning in the unthinkable

Peter Baklinski

ROCKWOOD (LifeSiteNews.com) – The doctor performing the ultrasound had a strange look on his face. The newly married couple braced themselves for what they were sure would be terrible news.

“Now, don’t scream,” he said in measured tones. “One. Two. Three…Triplets!”

Jason and Marie Taylor, both in their 30s, had married only four months ago, in May 2012. They were eager to start a family from the moment they fell in love, but they decided to do their relationship “God’s way”, saving sex till both had promised the other ‘I do’.

It was an ongoing joke in the extended family that if Marie was going to “catch up” with the number of children her married sisters had, then she and Jason would have to have twins and triplets.

One month after wedding bells, the couple was delighted to discover that they were pregnant. Now at 11 weeks, they were excited to see their ‘little one’ - or little ones, as it turned out - through the medical magic of ultrasound.

Jason and Marie were ecstatic at the news of triplets. Jason ‘high-fived’ Marie, who was lying on the observation bed.

“We were just really, really excited,” Jason told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview from their home last week.

The couple’s next immediate thought was: “Oh my goodness, what are we going to do with so many babies…we only have a limited number of arms.”

The ultrasound revealed that there were two girls and a boy. The proud parents named them Bernadette, Christine, and Adam.

At a subsequent visit, doctors spoke to the parents about “selective reduction,” but the couple would hear none of it. Even though Marie was a trained nurse and knew that doctors would ask this question, it stung her to hear someone so unconcernedly offer to “kill one or two of my children.”

“That was really upsetting to us both since we so eagerly anticipated our children,” said Jason.

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The couple began to prepare themselves and their house for the new arrivals, expected in February 2013. Three little cribs were purchased and tenderly placed in the upstairs bedroom.

Marie’s belly grew, and grew, and grew some more.

Every night before falling asleep beside his wife, Jason would lean over and talk to his unborn children. “Hey Adam, hey Bernadette, hey Christina, I’m looking forward to meeting you. I love you guys!” Before leaving for work he would say to them: “Look after your mommy!”

The unthinkable

But Marie’s body was beginning to have trouble adapting to the demands of the three thriving lives inside of her. She experienced massive headaches as well as heart palpitations and chest pains if she overexerted herself. She was troubled with severe acid reflux. One day, while in the midst of writing wedding thank-you cards at the kitchen table, she suddenly blacked-out. When she came to, she managed to phone Jason for help.

Despite Marie’s health struggles, a November 13 ultrasound revealed that Marie and her babies were doing quite well. At 22 weeks, Marie was measuring more like a pregnant woman at 35 weeks.

But the day after the ultrasound, Marie started experiencing “sharp little pains” across her abdomen that became increasingly regular. That evening, the couple decided to head for the hospital to see what was going on.

Arriving at the hospital, the couple was incredulous when doctors told Marie that she was four centimeters dilated and that labour had begun. The young couple clung to the hope that doctors could do something to prevent labour from developing further while still keeping the babies safe.

But labour progressed further. Doctors broke the news that the babies were on their way.

At 22 weeks, the tiny triplets didn’t have much of a chance. Not only was their gestational development delayed because they were triplets, but their little lungs hadn’t developed enough for them to breathe. As a nurse, Marie knew that ventilation efforts on underdeveloped lungs could explode the lungs, causing immediate death. Doctors told the parents that when born, the babies would not benefit from medical intervention.

As Jason stood by his wife’s side, witnessing the unthinkable nightmare that was unfolding before his eyes, he suddenly realized that he had been giving all his attention to Marie. He realized that his unborn children were probably just as frightened by what was happening as he and Marie were. The young father leaned over and chokingly comforted his children with the loving words he had spoken so often. “Hey, I love you guys…I’m looking forward to meeting you…”

The parents prepared to greet their children and spend as much time with them as they could.

The triplets were born in the early hours of November 15, each weighing between 360 to 450 grams, less than a pound each.

“They came out, full of life, and moving around,” said Jason. “I kept on hoping that they might be the only triplets born at 22 weeks to ever survive, but they faded quickly.”

Despite the deep sorrow of having to let their children go, the parents were nonetheless taken aback by how perfectly formed their little children were, with perfect little noses, tiny toes, dainty fingers and finger nails, and most of all, beautifully lovable faces.

“We held them. We had time to study them, and we really felt like we got to know them a bit,” Jason said.

By now, extended family had arrived at the hospital to support Jason and Marie and to help bid farewell to the three children. A nurse took the babies’ footprints. The children were fitted with little hats and wrapped in coloured garments.

For Marie, it was an impossible mix of emotions: “We just held the babies. We cried. We looked at them. We studied them. We talked to them. We baptized them. And…we loved them.”

Bernadette, Adam, and Christine were loved, respected, and cherished for every moment of their short four-hour lives.

Searching for meaning

Immediately after their children’s passing, Jason and Marie wondered what should be done with the remains. They wondered if the hospital would let them have the bodies.

Marie’s father came to the rescue: “Of course we must give them a proper funeral,” he said. “They lived a life, just like anybody else. They were born, they were baptized, they lived, and they died.”

Marie’s brother built a little wooden casket with three crosses on the top. The children who had grown, lived, and died together, would now be laid in their final resting place together.

Jeff Gunnarson of Campaign Life Coalition attended the funeral service. He told LifeSiteNews that he was “deeply moved” to hear Jason’s graveside testimony about the life of his children, adding that there was hardly a dry eye in the crowd.

“Jason explained to the people gathered that his children’s lives were precious,” he said. “He mentioned his daughters’ dainty fingernails and the beautiful curve of his boy’s tiny chin. He said that even at such a young age, each child already showed distinct personality traits. He conveyed that each had its own unique unrepeatable life.”

“Believe me, anyone in that crowd with a hint of indifference to the value of a baby’s life at 22-weeks would have left that service re-thinking a pro-choice position. Jason conveyed just how wonderfully-made are these little human children of God. He was able to see in this serious, sad, yet profound moment of burying his beloved children a pro-life ray of hope that brought tears to our eyes and made us grateful to have witnessed so great a love.”

A Testimony to Life

Like any parents who have had to bury their children, Jason and Marie find themselves asking “why”. On blacker days, they find themselves prayerfully wrestling with God, asking him why he allowed this pain, this grief, this suffering, this loss.

Marie’s worst moment was waking up in the middle of the night directly after her loss. As the preceding nightmarish events crashed heavily upon her, she suddenly realized that she no longer was pregnant. “I really felt the despair when I asked myself how could anything good possibly come out of this,” she said.

The parents found themselves turning to their faith, seeking answers to difficult questions.

“We don’t know why we didn’t get to keep them,” said Marie, “but for whatever reason, God allowed them to be taken from us. We have faith that they are now in heaven reaching down trying to pull the two of us to heaven to be with them. We believe that we have three little angels up there who are interceding for us, so that we will get there someday too.”

Instead of focusing on their loss, the parents decided to focus on their blessings. “If anything, these babies are a testament to life. That’s what they have to be. That’s what we have to make this,” said Marie.

Despite their pain and loss, the parents would never wish their children’s lives away. They know that pain and loss do not have the final word.

The triplets have already made a difference in the lives of all who knew about them. Neighbors came together to support Jason and Marie. Family members saw through their petty differences and found common ground. Faith in God and family ties were strengthened. Cold hearts were thawed.

“Somehow it changes a heart just to see their lives,” said Jason.

Jason and Marie’s “hope and prayer” is that sharing their experience might “encourage” others who face difficult life choices.

They have put together a moving video tribute in memory of their triplets. The parents wrote and recorded an uplifting and heartfelt song that accompanies their story, which is told through photos and texts. The YouTube video has already received close to 3500 views.

“Hopefully our babies lives can make a difference somehow, even if it’s just giving strength and affirmation to people currently in the pro-life movement,” said Jason.

Gunnarson called the Taylor’s testimony “courageous and amazing,” saying that they showed the world that bringing 22-week babies into the world, even if they are not able to live for more than a few hours, is the “natural, healthy, and loving thing to do”.

“They named them, they baptized them, and most importantly,” he said, “they loved them.”

For Jason and Marie, their children will forever remain a treasured memory. Anyone who listens to their story will hear them say: “We were blessed to have met them.”

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See Footsteps - In Memory of our Triplets on Youtube.



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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

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Texas AG to Target: Show me how you’ll protect women and kids from criminals

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

AUSTIN, Texas, May 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The latest backlash Target received as a result of its transgender bathroom policy was a letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asking the company to provide its safety policies to protect women and children from “those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes.” 

“Target, of course, is free to choose such a policy for its Texas stores,” Paxton wrote in a letter to Target CEO Brian Cornell. He noted the possibility of the Texas Legislature addressing the issue in the future, but said, “regardless of whether Texas legislates on this topic, it is possible that allowing men in women’s restrooms could lead to criminal and otherwise unwanted activity.”

“As chief lawyer and law enforcement officer for the State of Texas, I ask that you provide the full text of Target’s safety policies regarding the protection of women and children from those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes,” Paxton continued.

More than 1.1 million people have pledged to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms.  Opponents of the policy worry that it puts women and children at risk by emboldening predators, who may now freely enter women’s restrooms. 

Target’s new policy is “inclusive,” the company claims, and they say “everyone…deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally.” 

“Texans statewide can no longer be silent on the issue of protecting the safety of women and children,” Texas Values President and Attorney Jonathan Saenz said in a statement Wednesday urging Texans to boycott Target.  This is the first time in its history the pro-family group has called for a boycott. 

“We need all Texans to understand that Target is using this radical change in their store policy to try convince people that our laws should be changed in this dangerous direction as well,” said Saena.  “Our goal with this boycott is for Target to change its dangerous new policy, to raise awareness of the real threats to safety that these policies bring and to help businesses and lawmakers understand the significant opposition to such measures that is growing daily… Texans all across our state must join this Boycott Target effort before someone gets hurt.”

On Tuesday a male allegedly filmed an underage girl at a Frisco, Texas, Target fitting room.  Police are searching for the man. 

There have been numerous incidents of male predators across North America accessing women’s facilities and citing transgender policies as allowing them to do so.  



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Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, represents virtually everything the Republican Party has typically defined itself over against a katz / Shutterstock.com
Albert Mohler

Opinion,

Christians, America has reached a crisis point. Are you ready to take up this challenge?

Albert Mohler

May 5, 2016 (Albert Mohler) -- For nearly two and a half centuries, Americans have enjoyed the enormous privilege and responsibility of forming our own government—a privilege rarely experienced throughout most of human history. For most of history, humanity has struggled with the question of how to respond to a government that was essentially forced upon them. But Americans have often struggled with a very different reality; how do we rightly respond to the government that we choose? 

To put all of this in historical perspective, the Framers of the American experiment understood that a representative democracy built on the principle of limited government would require certain virtues of its citizens. These would include a restraint of passions and an upholding of traditional moral virtues, without which democracy would not be possible. As the idea of limited government implies, the citizenry would be required to carry out the social responsibilities of the community without the intrusion of government and, thus, citizens would be expected to have the moral integrity necessary for such an arrangement. The Framers of the American Republic also agreed that it would be impossible to have a representative democracy and a limited government if the people did not elect leaders who embodied the virtues of the citizenry while also respecting and protecting society’s pre-political institutions: marriage and family, the church, and the local community.

Thus, the idea of a limited government requires that society uphold and pursue the health of its most basic institutions. When a civil society is weak, government becomes strong. When the family breaks down, government grows stronger. When the essential institutions of society are no longer respected, government demands that respect for itself. That is a recipe for tyranny.

Much of this was essentially affirmed until the early decades of the 20th century when progressivists began promoting an agenda that fundamentally redefined the role of the federal government in public life. By the middle of the 20th century, the Democratic Party had essentially embraced this progressivist agenda, becoming committed to an increasingly powerful government—a government whose powers exceeded those enumerated in the Constitution. At the same time, the Democratic Party also began advocating for a basic redefinition of the morality that shaped the common culture. By and large, however, the Republican Party continued to maintain a commitment to the vision of America’s founders, advocating for a traditional understanding of morality while also upholding the principle of limited government.

By the 1980s, the two parties represented two very different worldviews and two very different visions of American government. For decades, each party has acted rather predictably and in ways that accord with their fundamental principles. All of that, however, has now changed.

The 2016 presidential campaign has developed in an entirely unpredictable manner and, in many respects, represents a crisis in American democracy. This crisis is not limited to either party. Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont, has won several stunning victories in the primary season over presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. While it is still extremely likely that Clinton will become the Democratic nominee, Sanders support among voters represents a populist flirtation with Democratic Socialism. This pattern is something few Democrats could have imagined just one year ago. What this foray into Democratic Socialism represents, then, is a radical adjustment of the Democratic Party’s basic economic principles. Thus, even if Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee, the process will likely drag her even further to the left, eventually redefining the Democratic Party before our very eyes.

But if it is remarkable to see what is happening in the Democratic Party, it is absolutely shocking to see what is happening among Republicans. Traditionally, the Republican Party has established its reputation by standing for the principles advocated by the American Founders—limited government upheld by the health of society’s primary institutions such as marriage, family, and community. Yet Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, represents virtually everything the Republican Party has typically defined itself over against. Clearly, both political parties are now redefining themselves. What is not clear is where each party will ultimately end up. What is also not clear is whether the American experiment can survive such radical political change.

As already noted, the American experiment in limited government requires that the citizenry and those who hold public office honor certain moral virtues and respect the institutions that are crucial for a society to rightly function. Yet, we now find ourselves in a situation where the three leading candidates for president show little to no respect for such institutions in their articulations of public policy.

This fundamental redefinition of the American political landscape requires Christians to think carefully about their political responsibility. Make no mistake; we cannot avoid that responsibility. Even refusing to vote is itself a vote because it privileges those who do vote and increases the value of each ballot. In truth, we bear a political responsibility that cannot be dismissed or delegated to others. Every Christian must be ready to responsibly steward his or her vote at the polls.

To put the matter bluntly, we are now confronted with the reality that, in November, Hillary Clinton will likely be the Democratic nominee and Donald Trump the Republican nominee. This poses a significant problem for many Christians who believe they cannot, in good conscience, vote for either candidate. As a result, Christians are going to need a lot of careful political reflection in order to steward their vote and their political responsibility in this election cycle.

Headlines from around the world tell us that other representative democracies are at a similar moment of redefinition. Political turmoil now marks the United Kingdom and also nations like France and other key American allies. Perhaps democracy itself is now facing a crucial hour of decision and a crucial season of testing. It is no exaggeration to say that democracy is being tested around the world; it is certainly being tested here at home. Yet if this is a moment of testing for democracy, it is also a crucial moment for Christian witness. This election cycle is going to be a particular test for American Christians—and we are about to find out if Christians are up to this challenge.

Reprinted with permission from Albert Mohler.



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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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‘Sick and twisted’: Scientists keep embryos alive outside womb up to 13 days for experimentation

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

May 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two teams of scientists have announced that they have been able to keep human embryos alive outside the womb for 13 days for the purpose of conducting scientific experiments. Some call the announcement the onset of a “Brave New World,” while others are petitioning lawmakers to lift sanctions that would keep scientists from experimenting on newly conceived babies even longer.

Researchers from Cambridge University, King's College, and Rockefeller University said in two separate reports that they stopped at 13 days only to avoid violating an internationally accepted law. At least 12 nations restrict the amount of time a newly conceived child may be kept alive in a laboratory to 14 days, the point at which scientists believe “individuality” begins.

The newest development allows scientists to observe newly conceived human beings after the point at which implantation in the womb would have occurred.

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, one of the studies' lead researchers, said her team's breakthrough could advance embryonic stem cell research and “can improve IVF success.”

Some scientists have called on the international community to extend the amount of time such experimentation can take place.

“If restrictions such as the 14-day rule are viewed as moral truths, such cynicism would be warranted,” three experts – Insoo Hyun, Amy Wilkerson, and Josephine Johnston – wrote in a commentary published yesterday in Nature magazine. “But when they are understood to be tools designed to strike a balance between enabling research and maintaining public trust, it becomes clear that, as circumstances and attitudes evolve, limits can be legitimately recalibrated.”

Pro-life experts said the experimentation destroys human life and could lead to grave ethical dilemmas by extending the research.

“No human being should be used for lethal experimentation, no matter their age or stage of development,” said Dr. David Prentice, a professor of molecular genetics and an Advisory Board Member for the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center. “The 14-day rule is itself arbitrary, and does not assuage those who believe life begins at the moment of sperm-egg fusion. Moreover, allowing experiments on human embryos beyond 14 days post-fertilization risks the lives of untold more human beings, because it further encourages creation and destruction for research purposes.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, called the experimentation “sick and twisted.”

“Science has undeniably proven that a new human life, with unrepeatable DNA, begins at conception,” she said. “There is no reason for experimentation on that human life and science itself should not be heralding thae fact that a tiny human being can survive now for two weeks outside of the womb, all for the sole purpose of experimentation.”

Dr. Prentice noted that embryonic stem cell research “has yielded no benefit thus far,” leading even its most vocal advocates, such as Michael J. Fox, to admit it has not lived up to its promise.

“If this research does not stop at 14 days, where does it stop?” asked Prentice. “This is a risky step which could encourage further eugenic attitudes and actions.”

Dr. Prentice encouraged Congress “to have a full and open debate on the issue of human embryo research before the research community moves further without oversight.”



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