Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Why I Didn't Murder My Baby


       Before I begin let me just say writing this was a long time coming. I had seen the umpteenth post about pro-life or pro-choice and I guess what astounds me is that we are even having this debate. It’s no wonder our country is going to hell in a hand-basket if we can’t even agree on whether or not it’s okay to murder the innocent and helpless. Should we have choices? Yes. Agency and freedom go hand in hand. Can you choose to shoot a man on the street? Sure. But it’s illegal and there are consequences. Can you choose to take the life of an infant? But of course! And bonus, it’s legal! Heck, it’s even encouraged. What happened to logic? What happened to morality?

        The title of the post may be shocking, but its essence is true. I was given the choice to abort my baby and I refrained. I suppose much of the world thinks that every time a man and a woman create a living human being we should have the “choice” to murder them—as long as they are inside a womb of course. But it had never really been presented to me as an option until I found out I was pregnant with my fourth.
        
        I already had three monkeys disguised as boys. I loved them with all of my heart. And finally. FINALLY. We were having a girl. But there was a catch.
                
       You see my fourth baby was, as so many doctors eloquently put, “defective”. She was diagnosed with the condition Trisomy 9. For those who have never heard of that, it’s a chromosomal disorder. A more commonly heard of chromosome disorder is Trisomy 21 or Down Syndrome’s. The lower the number, the more severe.
                
         Very few Trisomy 9 babies make it to term. In fact, it is so rare that every single doctor we dealt with in their long 30 plus year careers had never even seen a case. The few cases documented where the babies had made it to term were terrifying. Their bodies were disfigured. Some didn't have eyes or brains. It shocked us to the core.
            
          So. There I was. Fifteen or so weeks pregnant staring down the reality of what was now my life.
                
          The funny thing about these types of situations is, they crush you with the news and then, when you have dropped to your knees from the sheer weight of it all and are in the most incredibly vulnerable and least capable decision making frame of mind, they immediately expect you to make all sorts of decisions. Decisions that will affect you and probably haunt you the rest of your life.
                
          “So,” they said, “given the inevitability of the situation,” they said, “wouldn't you rather spare yourself and your body the pain and get rid of that defect?”
           
           Well not in those words. But basically.
                
           Let me pause for just a moment to say that this cynicism about doctors does not apply to all of the doctors we dealt with. My obstetrician, whom I adore, was loathe to even put it on the table. It was easy to tell the minute a doctor’s mouth started moving whether or not they were pro-life or pro-choice. Or maybe I’m not being fair. Maybe they are just so worn down by the indifference to human life they've lost feeling. Either way, it was disturbing.  
                
           My husband and I believe in God. Or at least I thought I believed in God before we were dealt this blow. We also believe that families are eternal so that even if we lose the ones we love in this life, we can be together with them one day. And quite suddenly I had to know. I desperately had to know if that was what I truly believed. For lack of a better way of phrasing it, I had to put up or shut up.
                
            I can’t speak for the entire population, but in my experience, the very second you find out you are pregnant, you become a mother. And even if you only carry that baby for three days or nine months, you are a mother. There is life inside your body and you will forever be connected.
                
           But it was true. She probably wouldn't make it to term. My body would have to go through the trauma, heck it was a c-section. My life would be at risk. The longer I was pregnant the harder it would be. And think of the baby! What about her? What would her quality of life be? What kind of a mother was I to force a baby to be born to a life of pain and imminent death?
                
            And so for the next few weeks I thought about it. It was a continual dialogue in my head. Yes or no, pros and cons, lists and lists and really it came down to one thing.
            
           Was it my decision?

Did it involve me? Yes. Absolutely. But was it my choice to make? Was it my choice to choose whether a spirit sent to us from our Father in Heaven should live or die? Should I kill this helpless little baby just because she was dealt a rotten hand of cards?

And for what? So I wouldn't get more stretch marks? So my “emotional attachment” as the physicians say, (though I like to refer to it as love) didn't get too strong? To spare myself the heartache? To spare ourselves the financial struggle?

I spoke the words out loud. I told my husband I was going to end the pregnancy. What was the point if it all ended in the same way? What did it matter if she died now or in a few months? He didn't argue or shame me he just said, I think you should pray about it. I think you should pray to know what she wants.

And reluctantly I did. But I didn't have any visions. She didn't come to me in a dream and make her wishes known. I didn't feel any closer to making a decision.

I had so many ultrasounds I can’t even number them and most of them are lost in a blur but for some reason I remember one in particular. I remember going in and lying on the table, waiting for the tech to squeeze the cold jelly on my stomach, and then I felt her move. And during the ultrasound she was active and it was like she was looking at me from that screen. She wiggled and stretched but all the while she was looking at me. And I knew.

She was a person. The phrase from that Doctor Seuss book, Horton Hears a Who, kept coming to my mind. “A person’s a person no matter how small” She was my baby no matter what. I knew she was a fighter. I couldn't betray her. I couldn't give up on her. I couldn't kill her.  
                
            Was the pregnancy hell? No doubt about it. Knowing that the little one you love is so close to being gone is one of the worst kinds of hell a person can go through. It pushed our marriage to its limits. It brought me to my knees, barely able to breathe, on almost a daily basis.
                
            But I didn't miscarry. At every appointment my doctor warned me to be prepared for the worst. And so I waited. I waited for blood. I waited for contractions. But they never came.

           Our family carved pumpkins for Halloween. Her grandpa carved one with a butterfly for her. She dressed up a skeleton. And I waited.

                
             I played my favorite music for her in the car during the hours and hours and hours of driving to the city for appointments and she responded. She danced. We danced together. And I waited.
                
             I told her secrets. I spoke to her all the time. I told her things I wanted her to know and remember. We watched chick flicks together and of course I had to eat every single one of my favorite foods because she needed to experience them. At least once. Even if was just in my mind.
                
             And I waited.
                
             I had a life with my baby girl. Nine beautiful and heart breaking, wonderful and terrible months. And then she was born. Our Gracie Belle. Our little sweetheart.

You look me in the eye and tell me we should have murdered our little girl when we had the chance. You tell me it was my body so it was my choice. You tell me that every single second of the two days God blessed us to have her wasn't worth it. To be able to smell her and kiss her nose. To feel her finger wrapped around mine. To hear her little mew of a cry. To watch as she sucked on a pacifier. To see her beautiful little eyes look back at me even if just for a moment.

Tell me it would have been better to end it and always wonder--To live with the what if’s and regrets. Tell me that it’s more important to value convenience and practicality over struggle and pain yes, but tremendous, life altering, love. If I had ended Gracie’s life that day it would have been the beginning of the end of mine.
I know every story is different. This is just mine. Abortion isn't the only way. You can choose hope. You can choose love. You can choose life.

                     
                   

                  

74 comments:

  1. I love you for your courage. I love you for your unselfishness. I love you for loving her and appreciating that God gave her to you even though it was for a short time. God bless you for sharing this experience with all of us and I pray that your heart will continue to be comforted and that your marriage and family will be strengthened. You are a stranger but you're my
    sister and I love you.

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    1. Praise God! I just read this story about Gracie Belle written by a very courageous mother. What a beautiful example of sacrificial love. I do not know you but like everyone else, I thank you for choosing life. I am so blessed by your story. I am also very blessed by reading this reply from Marsh and Wanda Gurr. What a surprise! I remember you from your days at Kirtland AFB! How are you?
      (Sharon Chastain)

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  2. I don't know you. I saw a comment posted by Toni Elmer on news feed. But I did click to read your blog. I just love your heart. You are beautiful and that precious little girl... amazing. Your story brought me to tears and I wish everyone in the world could hear it and "feel" it. I wish everyone had your heart and your love for God.
    You will now be in my prayers,
    Debbie Quila

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  3. Emily you are an incredible mother to Gracie and each of your other lucky children.
    What you went through was incredibly difficult but I so admire you viewing your time with Gracie within you as precious time spent together.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences.

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  4. I love you Emma :) This is so beautiful and powerful. I know Gracie is so proud of you! You are amazing. Oh…. and I love this picture. What a beautiful~remarkable daughter you have!

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  5. I don't know you, but I admire your courage. Truly feeling lots of love for you and your family after such a difficult trial. You will be with that beautiful baby girl again someday.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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  7. Your story is so real to me. I had to make that same choice but not because the baby had problems. I was 41 years old and pregnant with my 3rd child, 18 years after I had my 2nd child. (I have a son 37, a daughter 33 and then a 15 year old.) I became pregnant when my daughter began her senior year in high school. I was told I had a 1 in 55 chance of having a child with Down's Syndrome or some other defect. I had the choice to abort rather than take the risk. No way could I even fathom the thought of "throwing my baby away." Today he is a healthy 15 year old living life and bringing us joy beyond our comprehension. So glad I chose life!

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    1. My mother found out she was pregnant at 49. 22 years after her last. She went through with it (though difficult for many reasons!) and had a baby at 49 years old and she is now a perfectly healthy, energetic, lovable 5-year-old!

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  8. You have me in tears. I can't imagine the struggles you went through physically, emotionally, and spiritually every day of your pregnancy, and the trials you may be facing now. Thanks for sharing your story. Your beautiful baby girl is blessed to have such a strong and loving mother as are her older brothers. Your story can only have an impact for good on those who read it.

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  9. So so beautiful. Thank you for writing. So brave to share your experience and voice this way. Congratulations on your beautiful family.

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  10. Gracie is a beautiful little girl. I'll admit, I almost didn't read this post after seeing someone post the link on Facebook--I didn't think I wanted to read something that was likely very heavy. But I came back to it and read it. And I'm glad I did. What I'm sure would be a very difficult story of love and emotion and pain to condense into a single blog post, you have done well. I CANNOT IMAGINE after all that you and Gracie went through together, not getting to MEET HER, touch her, and kiss her. That is the one thing we mommas daydream about and look forward to in our months of waiting. I'm so glad you chose to meet Gracie and hold in your arms. She is your little girl forever. Thank you for sharing your and Gracie's story!

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  11. I believe with every fiber of my being that you and your husband will someday have the honor and privilege of raising your sweet Gracie into the woman she was meant to be. God has saved a very special place for her and because of Him, she has a very amazing life ahead of her. God be with you both.

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  12. Beautifully written, thanking for sharing your story. Families are forever and you will have your beautiful daughter again.

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  13. I echo was Kathy Beecher said. Bless you for sharing this. And thank you. Truly beautiful sentiments.

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  14. Hi friend. Thanks for continuing your story. A epic post to continue your love letters to Gracie Belle. Love ya bunches.

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  15. I truly believe this is one of the bravest things I have ever read: brave to choose life, brave to choose the pain that came with it, brave to choose to share it with all the world, brave enough to tell Gracie's story, your story with so much love and hope. You amaze me.

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  16. Thanks so much for sharing your story of love. She is beautiful!!! I'm glad that you were able to carry her and see her if only for a couple days. :)

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  17. Thank you for sharing your testimony. She's beautiful and will always be yours.

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  18. I have an 11 year old son with Trisomy 9 Mosaic and the doctors pushed and pushed me to abort. Today I can't imagine my life without him, he is truly a blessing to us and I would never go back and change my decision to give him life.

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  19. Nothing but tears here. Like someone above said, I too think you are one of the bravest people I know. Brave to do what you did and not be ashamed to tell your story. Love to you and your family!

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  20. I just read this post, and then the one before, and the one before that, until I was a few months before Gacie was born. My eyes are swollen from crying and my heart aches for your loss. I am grateful for your choice to give this sweet girl life. Truly grateful, yet a complete stranger. Thank you for sharing your story and be willing to stand for something.

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  21. This is so beautiful. I'm crying for your gain and for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story. What a precious little girl.

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  22. Wow. What a beautiful story. Thank you for having the courage to go through that experience and the courage to share it with the world. I'm in tears reading it. Bless you and your family.

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  23. I love your story, I love your faith. I know families are eternal and I am grateful for that. I have had three miscarriages and each and every one of those I wished for even a day with those babies. I am so grateful I found your blog. So much love to you and your family. Gracie is a beautiful baby girl!

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  24. Its story's like yours that confirm my own thoughts about these precious trisomy kids. Thank you for sharing the reality... Hugs and Prayers to you and your family... beautifully written. Gracie's life story continues to touch hearts... thank you.

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  25. Thank you for sharing. We had a Trisomy baby, too. He's in heaven making sure they all know we're really alright people. It was odd how many people expected us to abort.
    http://vfhomeschool.blogspot.com/2009/07/8-years-ago.html

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  26. Thank You For Sharing Your Story. I Commend You For Everything You Have Done And Making ThE Choice That You Did. I Would Like To say-Your Story Is The Epitomy Of Pro-choice. You Weighed Your Options AnD after Carefully Considering Both Options You Made The Decision You Felt Was Best For Your Family. I Think It Is Great That Your StorY Provides Information To Others Who May Face A Similar Situation. However, I Think Your Story Also Teaches How Important It Is For Everybody TO Have That Choice And Be Able To Make A Decision They Feel Is Best For Their Family Without Being Judged. Thank You For Sharing.

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  27. She was beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story! You are so strong and gave that sweet spirit what she needed! So needed this amazing story today! ♡♡

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  28. Thank you for sharing your story. It brought back memories for me as well. I was 21 when I gave birth at 20 weeks to a stillborn baby boy- a chromosomal defect. The following year I became pregnant again, this time with twins. I was sent to a specialist who "diagnosed" the twins as being "mono-mono." He told us that statistically, they had a 30% chance of survival, and offered termination of the pregnancy as an option. I'm so thankful that wasn't an option in our minds. We would take the risk. We now have beautiful, healthy 10 year old twin girls... and look forward to meeting our baby boy someday. Life is precious.

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  29. Wow! I can't help but shed tears. What a beautiful little girl that you will be able to raise one day. You will be blessed for such a difficult choice. May Heavenly Father bless you and your little family and continue to heal your hearts.

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  30. We may be strangers, but I felt your story in my heart and it left me breathless. You are an inspiration to many in a world where it seems that everyone chooses the more "convenient" ways to deal with these situations. Thank you for sharing your story. The beautiful Gracie Belle awaits from heaven anticipating the family reunion that will one day take place. May God bless you and your family my sister.

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  31. I also faced this question with one of my own pregnancies. I also chise life for my child. I experienced every bit if your questioning. But I never could express it so well. My baby had a different problem that threatened my life. I delivered him at 25 weeks because I was hemoraging and out of platelets. Today he is a healthy normal 19 year old. I had a better outcome but the pain and questions you posed hit me right where I sat. Your words brought the memory back so clearly. Such an experience changes you. I know how painful this can be but I also know of the comfort that comes in times of great stress.

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  32. For eight years I photographed all the stillborn (or born alive but too early to save) babies at two hospitals, and upon meeting some of the 20-22 week fighters who live for an hour just to get a taste of this life, and upon feeling their overpowering spirits fill the room, I feel exactly as you do! I've known for a long time that if I ever conceived a baby doomed to die, I would give that baby as long and as good and as loving a life as I could.

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  33. I have been reading through this blog and crying buckets. Thank you so much for sharing your sweet and tender story. You are a strong woman and my heart goes out to you.

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  34. Wow. What an amazing story. Thanks so much for sharing and my friend, Amanda, for sharing your story on her FB. I am the proud mom of a 22-year-old son who is expecting his first son. I was never faced with the dilemma that you and your husband faced but I know I'd have done the same thing. I know how much joy he and his wife have waiting for their little Matt to join our family.

    I know that Gracie will always live in the hearts of you and your husband and your beautiful boys. Keep telling your story. It's worth listening to.

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  35. Thank you for sharing your story. I had to make that choice 4 years ago with my son. I was told all kinds of horrible outcomes about possible defects, and I refused any more testing to know "for sure" what he would have. I chose to let my baby live, and he is a healthy almost 4 year old now. He has struggles, but I love him so much and can't imagine my life without him. I love that you said it is God's decision. I'm pregnant again, and have another but different pregnancy complication. This baby may not make it to term, but I know that God is in control. I hope and pray that I get to hold this little one in his lifetime, but if not, I will hold him in heaven. Thank you for sharing your story and providing such beautiful words of hope and comfort. :)

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    1. I pray that your unborn child will be another miracle and will be able to spend time with you whether it be hours, days or years. God bless you and may you have the support and strength from family and friends for whatever lies ahead.

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  36. Thank you for sharing your beautiful experience. So sweet and so needed to be heard...

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  37. I understand some of what you went through. I got pregnant with my daughter when I was 38 and my doctor kept telling me that there was a high chance that the baby would have down syndrome, so she ordered an early ultrasound. They wanted a second one soon after and kept hounding me to schedule it. Finally, when I saw my doctor, I told her I didn't need an ultrasound because if my baby had down syndrome there was no way I was going to get an abortion, so I didn't need to find out if she had down syndrome or not. It finally shut her up to stop bugging me about it. It's like doctor's automatically think that you don't want the child if they have a defect. What happened to loving our children no matter what? At least that's how I felt about my own child. She was a perfectly baby, which I am thankful for, but I would have loved her the same if she was different in any way. For me, abortion was NOT an option since my daughter was conceived in a loving relationship and we were trying to have a baby.

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  38. My heart is full of love and gratitude for you and the strength you have. I know you don't think so, but you had faith way down deep and God helped you use it. I am sure Gracie is so thankful you are her mother - she picked you for a reason!!! What a great reunion you will have with her - when you see her again!

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  39. You don't know me, a friend posted this on Facebook, thank you for sharing your story! You've articulated beautifully your thoughts and feelings and they are eerily similar to mine. I have an angel baby who lived on this earth for a total of 9 hours. At our 20 week ultrasound we discovered she was missing the right half of her brain and her right eye but everything else seemed healthy. We too were "encouraged" to consider abortion because if she made it long enough to be born what kind of life would she have with one eye and half a brain. I only considered it for a moment. Then my husband and I dug in our heels and determined to give our girl a chance at life. We got to love her and snuggle her for 9 beautiful hours and I wouldn't trade being able feel her amazing and pure and sweet spirit for sparing us the hurt and pain we endured. She was a wonderful gift from a loving Heavenly Father, as all babies are. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and admire your strength and courage, and I'm sorry for your loss. Won't it be an amazing, happy reunion when we see our angel babies again.

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  40. This is so beautiful! I almost didn't read this either like someone said above because I was afraid of the title, but I'm glad I did. I believe that you made the right decision in letting her come. Such a beautiful testimony of how much our Heavenly Father loves us enough to give us those special perfect spirits. You will have her again. My heart aches for your pain and I'm bawling after reading your wonderful story! Thanks for sharing.

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  41. Oh that perfect, beautiful baby. Of course going to term was worth it, any time we can get with our children is worth it. God bless you.

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  42. This is a beautiful, beautiful story and I respect and admire your courage to share. That is a part of your life, your choice, and your experience with your daughter. However, I feel inclined to be the sole voice of dissent and disagree with saying that it's faulty to connect that personal experience to justify your beliefs on the legality of abortion. As you mentioned here, you don't know other people's experiences. And while the overwhelming trauma you experienced here is not trivial, it is important to say how different it is from the other kinds of pregnancies other women experience. Women who are raped, girls who are raped, young young girls who are raped, 12 year old girls who get pregnant. These things happen, and happen more often than what most privileged people seem to realize. I know these people. And to say because you chose life and you don't regret it doesn't entitle you to support a big government to legislate that all people MUST choose the same thing, despite their circumstances or experience. Pro-choice does not mean one SHOULD choose abortion in tough situations, it means that that decision is between the woman and her God, not between the woman, and her God, and what state/country she lives in. But I do want to reiterate that this is still so beautiful, and I respect and admire your courage, and I am happy the choice you got to make makes you happy and proud of yourself.

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  43. And, for you and your story - you made the choice that fits you. The answer isn't always the same for others and the idea that we have a become a world of "I did this - so should you" is quite honestly a world too judgmental, too short sighted, (Yes, I know that is contradictory to your eternal view - But, that is my point it's YOUR view,) and too unwilling to see or even dare to understand why someone would have the audacity to choose something other than we would for ourselves.

    I'm glad you made the choice that is right for you and for you family.

    Your choice has nothing to do with choices other families make. Nor it is any of your business.

    And, just so there isn't speculation, No, I have never had an abortion. I am Pro-choice. And, we should learn how to respect the choices others make even if it is a decision we wouldn't make for ourselves.

    @Sillygilly922 - LOVE your response!!

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    1. Can I just say that in her defense not once did she ask everyone about their experiences so to me reading your comment and seeing that you have written.... Not that its any of your business to me it seems quite rude although I do agree with some of the things you have said I believe that you should of worded your opinions in a nicer manner x

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  44. your story is heartbreaking yet beautiful. I would have done things exactly as you did…exactly! bless you…and your family. People have asked me if I had known my son would have developed autism and had mental challenges and epilepsy before he was born…would I have had him…the answer is a resounding YES! Life is precious….value it. I love hearing stories like this because even though your baby girl passed as they thought she would…you still got to feel her and bond with her and say hello and goodbye. Many blessings for you and your family <3

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  45. Born on earth to grow in heaven. Your perfect daughter only needed a body to continue her mission. She chose you as her parents for a reason. I know you will feel her presence many times during your own journey. What a great example you and your husband have set for your 3 other little warriors - life is precious.

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  46. I have been crying for about 30 minutes now after seeing your story. I had just written my own blog about the crazy day I have had and I just feel so selfish now after reading your story. Your daughter was so beautiful and I am so sorry you have been in pain this past year ( a pain that I hope as a mother myself I will never have to go through) I just can't even imagine......

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  47. Thank you! My story is very similar, tho my son was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and he was stillborn at 32 weeks. It was so hard to lose him, but he's still very much a part of our family. I quote Horton often, too, as I vividly recall feeling him move when I was only 10 weeks. I'd have 3 children already so that movement is unmistakable. I took it as his time with us was not in my hands. He was very swollen and had lots of fluid around his neck; when he did move I always worried if he was fine or suffering. He had a good, strong heart beat, and I talked to him, sang to him, held my tummy, and prayed. He is my son and I can't imagine my life without him. I miss him every day, sometimes so much that I can hardly breathe. However, I am so blessed to have him. I never realized how many moms go thru this until I did. One of my friends said, "We don't wear t-shirts, but we are always there for each other. We're unlikely friends, but we understand each other." Heaven, faith, my beliefs, all tested, all proved. It all means more and feels closer. Thanks again, you are a hero.

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  48. Oh, my. This is just beautiful. Me and my husband had our own beautiful Grace born at 23 weeks, on January 11th, 2001. She was born sleeping in Jesus. Her short life has left a major imprint on our hearts and many others. Thank you for sharing your story. I know that it will touch lives and change hearts. God richly bless you and your beautiful family.

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  49. What an amazing story and an amazing woman your daughter is beautiful as im sure everyone will agree. I say is because she will be in heaven still shining beautifully with her precious smile and fluttery wings. Thank you for sharing your story I will keep sharing so everyone I know can read this its amazing xx

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  50. Is this an actual picture of your daughter? She looks beautiful & perfect!! If I may ask what was the actual cause of her death? Was her heart or her lungs not strong enough?

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  51. I just found your blog and am so touched. Your family is so strong, and gives me an extra push. Your daughter is so beautiful and amazing. What fire and spirit represents.

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  52. We don't know each other, but a friend of mine posted your link on facebook. I almost never comment on blogs and such, especially of people I don't know but I really felt that I should let you know how inspiring your story is. Thank you so much for sharing your touching story. I agree with you and believe that Heavenly Father has a plan for each and every one of His children, even if your daughters life was very short, there was a reason. She was able to come to your family and also receive a body. Now she is in the loving arms of our Heavenly Father and you have an angel watching over you and your family. I read a number of your posts and couldn't help but cry the whole time. So thankful I was able to feel the spirit through your story and be reminded of what's truly important in this life. You are amazing. Thank you for standing up for what you believe in and for being a good example to all those around you. Also, your daughter is beautiful! What a little sweetheart! I hope the best for you and your family.

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  53. You are a heroine. Thank you for sharing you pain, your blessing and your grace. As I pray over my children tonight, I will be thinking of you and yours, all four of them. I hope you find peace and are strengthened in all of this chaos, with God, your marriage and as a mother.

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  54. Thank you for sharing your story, and for giving your daughter life! You are an inspiration to many, in a world where life is valued so little, we need to hear of experiences such as yours. Thank you for having the courage to share what I can only imagine was one of the most emotional experiences of your life.

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  55. What a beautiful baby girl your family is blessed with. I know our children lost to us here wait for us on the other side. And I am sure they are as grateful, as we are, for the short time we got to spend together on this earth.
    Thank you for sharing.

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  56. Such a beautiful story. I am sure in the eternity Gracie will thank you for giving her perfect spirit a body, for those 2 short days. Thank you for sharing your testimony of your experience. Bless you and your family. ♥

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  57. I read your story via Facebook post from another friend. While I share the same beliefs as you do about an eternal family, I am also not a 100% pro-life individual and I think there should be an allowance for an abortion if the mother's life is in grave danger. A woman I know experienced a pregnancy coupled with another health complication that would have effectively ended her life had she chosen to go through with it. After extensive prayer and fasting, she and her husband terminated the pregnancy, had surgery to correct the previously unknown medical condition, and then were later able to have four children. I cannot imagine the difficulty of that decision, but the Lord let them know that it was the right one. I guess if you want to use a similar metaphor to the one you did, it is legal to shoot a man in the face when he is about to shoot you (self defense). I think abortion IS ending a life and choosing to do so should be done in only the most extreme of circumstances-i.e. preservation of the mother's life. It is horrific that it has become something so cavalier and routine-particularly in the medical world for many practitioners, and I understand your point of view and choice of words in that regards. However, I suppose there's just the little voice inside me that says 'recognize some may receive a different answer from the Lord than you, even in the case of abortion'.

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  58. You don't know me, a friend forwarded this to me. I used to have a neighbor whose fifith child was diagnosed with anencephayly -- only a brain stem. He had to go to the hospital every other week or so to have her amniotic fluid partially drained -- too much is a symptom. People told her she should abort the baby as it was "just going to die anyway." I was a lot younger then and didn't know what to say but I told her I supported her and I'll never forget what she said. She said, "We are going to love her as long as we have her." And that's what they did.

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  59. Thank you for sharing this precious and private part of your life with so many! My daughter also was faced with the same decision, at 21 weeks she was told her baby would not survive, here would not thrive outside her womb, immediately after hearing this they sent her to a geneticist who told her she must decide right away whether to terminate...she couldn't even think after hearing her baby would not survive...they seemed very adamant that she decide right then, I spoke up and told her she had time to go home and just let it sink in before she decided, she carried to term, our precious grandson lived an hour and 19 min. If she would have terminated we would not have had that small amount of time, she would never had heard him cry and have him look at her! Many people questioned her...but she felt the baby moving, she heard his heart beat at every appointment...she did what she knew she had to do, be a mother to this baby as long as God gave her the opportunity! I am very proud of her! Good bless you and your family! Oh and when asked how many grandchildren I have I say 5, 4 living 1 in heaven!

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  60. Like many others here, your words have touched me greatly. Like you I discovered during the 20 week ultrasound that my son had a problem. It was a heart defect and like you we were told that "it might be better" if we were to save him the suffering of the multiple surgeries he would have within days of his birth. They said, he is fine as long as he stays in the womb but after he is born his chance of survival is extremely low. We had one week to decide, a week filled with prayer and fasting. We chose life. We chose to let him fight and live. In a cruel twist of events he wasn't fine and we had to induce early. He died during delivery. In that hospital room was the most sweet and precious experience I have ever had in my whole life. Someday when I meet him I will be able to tell him honestly that he is loved. We have loved him every day since the moment we knew he would be ours. We will always love him. I'm so glad we chose to let him fight.

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  61. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

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  62. Beautiful heartfelt sharing of the most difficult of challenges. I was also faced with the possibility of a child with downs 20 years aog. I too decided either way I would keep her. She was fine and I was able to spend 18 1/2 years with her. I will never regret the journey. We had all those wonderful bonding moments, and then she was killed 14 months ago while attending BYU in a car accident. I have also blogged about my journey and wanted to reach out to you as a mother who has spent the past 14 months rebuilding my life and my families as we have gone through the lose of my beautiful Madeline Rose. Hugs to you as you walk through the next part of healing from the loss. The journey has been the most horrific but yet spiritual journey of my life. So grateful for knowing that I will be with her again, but still the loss of Madeline breaks me to my core at times. Here is my blog if you care to read about a mothers journey through losing a child... http://madelineroseoftexas.blogspot.com/

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  63. I like many others that have posted here don't know you Emily, but I was deeply touched by your story. Some here have called you "brave", the very definition of "a mothers love" has to include bravery, as well as many other attributes which you possess. Emily, you ARE a "mother" in the way Heavenly Father meant for mothers to be. Brave, Selfless, Loving unconditionally, Sacrificial, Healer, Comforter, Strong, Empathetic, I could go on and on, the point I am trying to make here is that you exemplify your Divine calling, and the rewards for this are great. I can't help but think of the relationship you built with your daughter, while you carried her. The time you spent singing to her, talking to her, even letting her sample your favorite foods. All of these simple yet intimate moments that could have been lost. You KNOW HER, and she KNOWS YOU, you accomplished this in your time with her. When again you reunite, you will have much to talk about and reminisce about. Much love to you and your sweet family. FAF!!

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  64. This is beautiful. We lost our baby, Grace Annabella, on August 16th and although she never lived on this earth, she was my daughter. I love your story & your skeleton tshirt!

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  65. You are an amazing woman. There has to be a Father in Heaven, because there is no way someone could go through this alone. I know you'll be with your sweet daughter again. Thank you so much for this post.

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  66. I finally got to read this post! Brig told me about it but we were on vacation and all the chaos that brings didn't allow me a single quiet moment. And I knew I needed a quiet moment to read a little bit of what is written on your heart. I love you and your strength. I am so lucky to get to know you. And I am thrilled by the prospect of meeting sweet, beautiful Gracie Belle someday.

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