In March of 2017, a woman in our church informed me that her sister was pregnant with a baby boy. This was her sister’s first pregnancy, but the little boy she was carrying had been diagnosed with a severe case of spina bifida. Her sister had recently gone to a high-risk obstetrician and her doctor informed her that the little boy she was carrying was going to be severely affected by this condition, and the child’s quality of life, if he even survived birth, would be extremely low. Although the doctor did not tell her to terminate the pregnancy, termination was strongly encouraged.
When I found about this situation, this young mom was past the point where she could legally have an abortion in the state of Oklahoma. Her doctor gave her the name of a facility out of state and she and her husband were making plans to travel there and have the abortion. The church member who informed me about this asked if I would be willing to go and talk with her sister and husband. They were not members of our church and I had never met them. I, of course, said that I would be willing to go as long as they wanted me to come over and talk with them.
Much to her surprise, when she asked them, they were willing to meet with me, but it had to be soon because they were scheduled to go out of town the next day for the abortion. I went to their home, and can only say that from the minute I walked in, God was in charge of the conversation. While this couple was painfully struggling with the decision, their plans were to leave the next day and proceed with the abortion. As I listened to them and shared some things with them, God began turning the conversation. I shared with them that they had to decide what decision they wanted to live with: the “what if,” or the “even if.” What I meant by that was “what if” the baby was born normal; “what if” God healed the child; “what if” doctors could be used to help the child, etc. Then I shared that if they chose to have the baby, they would also have to live with the “even if.” What I meant by that was “even if” the child is born and does not survive, or survives, but is severely disabled; they needed to be prepared to live with that reality. Did they want to go through life wondering “what if,” or living with the “even if”? By the time I left, they were contemplating canceling their trip. When I got home, my wife told me that our church member had called her and said that her sister had decided to cancel the trip and explore other options. She was in tears as she was sharing this news.
To make a long story short, this family ended up finding a hospital in Houston who would do a risky, but life-altering surgery on the baby in the womb. The approval for such a procedure is very small, but the mom and baby were approved, and surgery was done a few weeks later. Had they not pursued the path of life, they would have never even known this was an option. This surgery was the best shot the baby had of being born normal and being able to function. As with any surgery there was a risk, but the risk with this particular surgery was immensely higher. The surgery was performed and the doctor deemed it a success. At twenty six weeks, the baby was born and weighed 2 pounds, 1 ounce, and stayed in the NICU in Houston for five months before being transferred to the Children’s Hospital in OKC. As I write this, the baby is now home and should live a relatively normal life with few complications.
While I visited with this family the other day, the mom said, “Had God not intervened, our baby boy would not be here. Not matter what happens from this point forward, I will forever be grateful to God.” She said that to me while holding her son that she was encouraged to terminate. There are so many other important details I left out, but you can see the power of that moment and the effect her choice had on her life, her son’s life, and everyone else’s life involved. This family was faced with one choice that would take them down two different paths. Thankfully they chose the path of life and now get to see and hold a child that God created, gave them, and has special plans for. While the road ahead of them will still be filled with challenges, they can rest knowing they left life and death in the hands of God. Now, they have to trust Him to continue to walk with them as they raise this precious baby boy! See you next week!