In a dark ultrasound room, at 25 years old and 20 weeks pregnant, my doctor spoke words I had only imagined in nightmares: “incompatible with life.” The words echoed in my head as I struggled to make sense of this new reality — one where the baby girl I was carrying has an extra 18th chromosome and would not live a normal, healthy life.
The doctor presumed I would have an abortion and began giving me information on how to proceed, but I stopped him short and told him that God will decide how long my baby lives and when she will die, not me.
Fast forward 11 years — “choose life.” These are words God has seared into my heart as a mantra to live by. Choose life in my own heart when grief, worry, or despair threatens to overwhelm. Choose life when encountering others in our world who are oppressed, neglected and underrepresented. Choose life for those who are unborn who cannot speak for themselves. Choose life is God’s call to value the lives of all who are created in His image.
Because of this, my heart is broken by the legislation that passed with celebration in New York. This is an area that is particularly dear to me because of two baby girls that have changed my life forever.
On a perfect December morning, eighteen weeks after my doctor broke the devastating news, Poppy Joy was born. She had all of the anticipated markers of trisomy 18, and she was exquisite. As I held her, my heart was overflowing with the most perfect joy as I told her how loved she is. Her older sister kissed her head and her grandparents beamed as they held her close.
We enjoyed three perfect hours with our baby girl before she peacefully passed from my arms to heaven. She was gone, but she left the rest of us undeniably altered and changed for the better. She was not on this earth long, but she was cherished, and her short life overflowed with beauty and dignity. How could I have imagined the gift she would be?
Fast forward six months. Another baby girl was about to be born, but this time under tragically adverse circumstances. The mother had no support and no chance of raising her daughter herself — but she chose life anyway. I got a call that a baby girl had been born and we had been chosen by her birth mother to be her parents. I met my daughter, and again my heart exploded as I told her how much she is loved. She is our daily sunshine and unceasing joy, and we are forever changed for the better because of her.
Life is precious. I say this not as a platitude but as the unshakable belief of my soul.
All life, born and unborn, wanted and unwanted, young and old, healthy and unhealthy, it is all precious. Both of my girls were born under difficult circumstances; both deserved life. May God burden our hearts to seek to do what we can to promote life and fight the anesthetization of our souls that would allow us to do nothing.
By Angie Luce