Affirming Life Initiative | Prenatal Diagnosis

[Music] After several miscarriages, I was enjoying what I thought was an uneventful pregnacy Things were just moving along

When I had what was considered a normal prescreening test, I got the results from that test and the doctor said that I was at risk for something called Trisomy 18 Its when the eightenth chromosome has a third copy instead of just two copies When I first got the diagnosis, that I was at risk for Trisomy 18, my obstetrician said that this was something that was incompatible with life I had not even heard that terminology, incompatible with life That most babies that have Trisomy 18 die in utero or shortly after birth

And that those that do live to live birth generally have to be institutionalized He's rolling through other statistics and other information Its going through my mind "incompatible with life? What does that mean? Does that mean that she's already dead? Will she only live for a period of time? What do they consider life?" These were questions I was going over and over again I was just looking for someone else to give me a different perspective on this child I was carrying because I knew that this baby was alive And I wanted to hear somebody talk about who she was as a person and recognize that she was my baby and not just a statistic I wanted to talk to a parish priest

[Fr Lee] Having had the experience with Nancy and her pregnancy and Angela, definately gave me the confirmation that in every situation God will reveal himself and reveal himself in a miraculous way in a beautiful way Doctors can give them all of the medical information but I think they may be limited They may be just looking at the situation from a physicial or a medical perspective I think what the parents really need is to speak to someone who can address the broader reality

[Nancy] It was an absolutely positive exerience And Father Lee Fangmeyer was amazing He was like a lifeline I felt like all we had heard the past few days was really bad news Father Lee was so kind and so welcoming and very empathetic

I look back on the situation with Angela and I see mostly blessings and certainly lots of graces But I think I can't emphasize how big a role you played in making that amazingly wonderful spiritual experience for us when I didn't that was really possible when we got the diagnosis [Fr Lee] I think the first advice that I would give to parents facing this kind of situation, a difficult pregnancy, to say yes to the child thats been given to them, to turn to our Lady to pray Why? Because the announciation shows us, I think, the method that they need to be aware of from that moment

What was asked of Mary was simply to say yes to the situation To say yes means to, like Mary, to accept what is present in the moment with trust and love that God has a plan and what we see with Mary was faced with in her yes made Christ present [The thing that was so important to me was to say that most parents want for their children to go to heaven And that Angela, we had named my daughter Angela, was going to go to heaven and even though she wasn't going to have the life we had envisioned for her We were going to be able to pass her from our hands to God's hands I think its really important for anyone who is a member of the clergy who understand how big a role they play in talking, couseling, supporting, and praying with a family who receives a poor prenatal diagnosis I don't think you can ever underestimate how important that role is [Fr

Lee] I would also say to the priest, don't be crippled by the announcement of what's quote unquote bad news because there is a reality there that's greater than that from the very beginning You trust that God is present right now There's nothing where he's not going to be present He hasn't abandoned them And so you look at this situation with that awareness that, asking God to reveal himself through himself first and then to them

Do you trust that they That God is using this for a reason and the goodness, and light, and love of God is going to be revealed Not to be afraid

The first thing, to not be afraid or shrink from or go back from this, but enter into the drama of the situation with complete confidence that Christ is going to reveal himself and he does have something for them You have to have faith knowing that its nothing that is so terrible in the world that he cannot overcome with his love [Nancy] What the clergy is asked to do is to reframe the person's idea of what this pregnancy is going to be To help them to look at the child that they were expecting and accept the child they are going to have support them and let God take over from there with those graces A priest, a deacon, anyone with that type of background working with a family, can help that family go from a completely devestating experience to a very life enriching, life affirming experience that over time grows to be the most valuable information have ever received

Produced by the Archdiocese of Washington

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