I feel like an Olympic runner in the final lap of the 400 meter race darting towards the finish line. I'm running against; the doctor who said Mylah's fate was "sealed", the negative co-worker who questioned the reason for my baby shower and asked if I was in "denial" about what's to come, the medical professionals who have deemed Trisomy 18 children as "incompatible with life", and against the devil & all the things that are negative regarding this situation.
Statistics & percentages don't matter to me. Mylah has defied so many odds thus far. Yet I feel my "motherly instincts" kicking in. I feel like a mother who is preparing to see her child off to college. She's been under my care in my womb for 8 months and soon she will have to do for herself. She will have to breathe on her own, learn to eat, she will no longer depend on my body 100% of the time and this is scary.
So much has happened since the last time I wrote.
I attended a Michigan Right to Life event at my mothers church for their Black History Month series. I was shocked by the statistics that were given during this event. I was saddened by the number of abortions that African American women have had since abortion has become legal in 1973. In my lifetime I've known individuals who have had abortions. I called myself a friend to those who chose to disclose their decision to me. I was one who felt that it was a woman's choice to do what she felt she needed to do for her life and for her situation. I considered myself Pro-Choice.
Not until Juwan and I struggled to get pregnant did my views on abortion change. I actually felt during this emotional time that GOD was punishing me for supporting people when they made the decision to abort their babies. I felt that GOD was telling me that I was supposed to speak up and convince these people that abortion was wrong and that their reasons for abortion were not valid. He wanted me to stand up and say that this was life that HE had blessed them with and that they should carry on with their pregnancies. I've since become Pro-Life because I know that GOD is the only one who can give life. He gave me life and he gave Mylah life. When we were presented with the option to abort Mylah after the Trisomy 18 diagnosis because she is deemed incompatible with life I became very angry. Who was this physician? What gave him the right to offer me this as an option? Who was this medical professional to think he could tell me what my child was incompatible with?
GOD designed Mylah to be how he wanted her to be. He gave her life. I prayed for him to give me a child and that's just what he did. So who was I to end the life that GOD had given her? I knew that it was not my right to do so. So that's why I still carry her to this day, because GOD has his plan for her. He chose Juwan and I as her parents and it's our responsibility to love, provide, and care for her as long as GOD allows her to be ours.
During the event Q & A session I wanted to know if the stats that were presented included those abortions performed in the hospital. When I asked my question I had no intention of mentioning my situation, but GOD had another plan. I spoke very briefly about Mylah, her diagnosis and the option for abortion that was presented to us during our meeting with the specialists. I was applauded because I decided to carry Mylah. The pastor of the church mentioned that he knew a couple whose daughter had been born with a abnormality and that the medical community was less than encompassing of her condition. He explained the child's parents were also faced with different adversities. They had named their daughter Faith and he wanted my husband and I to be able to connect with them because he felt that they would be able to help us with our situation.
After the event, I was approached by a number of people who wanted to give their blessings and said that they would be praying for our family. Two ladies gave me monetary gifts for Mylah and I also met a lady who had birthed a Trisomy 18 baby. Her baby unfortunately passed away but she gave me her contact information and said that if I needed information or someone to talk to who had been in the same situation I could call her. I left the event so full from all of the support and encouragement that I had received from people who didn't know anything about me. It helped me realize that there are people who do genuinely care. **** That was on Wednesday***
This past Monday while on my way to work I received a text from a close friend who informed me that a family with a daughter with Trisomy 18 was on the front page of the Detroit Free Press. I rushed to work hoping I could buy a copy of the Free Press before the cafeteria ran out. I ran, well lets be real at 35 weeks I'm not running anywhere.. so lets say I rushed past the grill and the oatmeal to pick up the paper and there they were on the front page of the paper with one of the most beautiful little girls I had ever seen. What's so funny is that in that moment I saw Juwan, Mylah and myself! The Smith Family; Brad, Jesi, and their daughter Faith on the cover of Monday's Free Press. The article told how the Smith's like us were told to prepare for their daughters death. But they refused to listen to what doctors thought they knew about their child. The article also tells how Presidential candidate Rick Santorum gave Brad advice that helped their daughter in a number of ways. The Smith's along with their other 4 children have embraced Faith and the pictures show that they are one big happy family.
As I read the article I couldn't help but wish that I could talk to this family. They had been where we are, they had walked the journey before us and how great it would be to speak to someone locally about how they managed to get to where they were now.
Earlier on Monday I'd been talking on the phone to one of the Trisomy 18 Mommies that I connected with on Facebook. She lives in Minnesota and I clearly remember the day after Mylah's diagnosis finding her YouTube video that displayed pictures of her son. I recall crying tears of joy when across my screen flashed a picture of her son on the beach in his swim trunks and goggles. I just kept thinking "He's so beautiful and the cutest little boy" It was in her video that I found joy in a time when things were looking so dim. She was giving me some advice and I brought up the irony between our discussion and the family on the front of my local paper. She immediately told me that the father was in our Trisomy 18 Mommie group and had posted the link to the story on the page, but because I was in training, I hadn't been able to look at Facebook since earlier that morning.
After work, my mother & I were talking on the phone and I asked her had she seen the paper? I can't remember how this came up but my mother said that she had a feeling that the family that the article was about was the same family her pastor wanted to connect us with. She specifically asked me "remember he said their daughters name was Faith?". I did recall, but never connected the two together. So as you can imagine my anticipation increased. When I arrived home I rushed to my laptop and looked at the post on the Trisomy group. I clicked on the posters name; Brad Smith, and saw that he was local. Immediately I commented on the link he posted just giving a brief description and indicated that I would love to meet them. Later, that night I received a voice mail from a number that I didn't have programmed in my phone. When I listened to the message, the corners of my mouth expanded outward and formed a smile. It was Brad Smith, the father in the article. I felt in that moment that a celebrity had called me. His voice so pleasant and warming expressed that he and his wife would be happy to meet us. I couldn't call my mother fast enough. In the message he said that my fellow Minnesota Trisomy mother had given him my phone number.
I gathered my thoughts and called them when I arrived home later on. The Smith's are a loving, caring, compassionate family! It was like I was talking to old friends. Jesi was so encouraging & positive and their willingness to support Juwan and I was just so overwhelming. I received confirmation from GOD thru my conversation with the Smith's about a number of things that I had been wondering about. I'm so thankful for the Smith family because they could easily not been so willing to share their story. They shared their pictures and allowed the media into their life and the life of their child so that others could see what Trisomy 18 looked like and that it's not the death sentence that so many think it is. I'm so happy that our paths have crossed and each day GOD is showing me where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing with this testimony that he preparing me for.