The day they said my child had a chromosomal abnormality

My last post about how it’s monstrous to abort unborn babies because they have Down syndrome elicited some equally monstrous yet sadly predictable responses from the far left.

“They’re too much of a burden,” sums them up.

That only strengthens my analogy to Nazi eugenics, I told them, but one reader asked a question that I feel compelled to answer publicly.

“Do you know how it feels,” she asked, “to be told your baby would be born severely disabled?”

Yes, I do, and that’s partially why it grieves me that so many parents are choosing abortion after those prenatal screenings.

It was mid-August of 2006 and my wife and I were expecting our second child. I was sitting at my desk in the Pentagon when the phone rang. It was my wife, and she was sobbing uncontrollably.

“What happened?” I asked, standing so abruptly that I sent my office chair flying backward and crashing into the wall. The telephone receiver shook in my hands as I imagined the worst. “Something’s wrong with the baby,” she managed to say between tears. “The doctor’s office called. Something’s wrong with the baby.”

I rushed home and found my wife lying on the bed, still crying. I sat beside her and took her tightly into my arms until she could explain.

Her doctor had called and said a routine screening indicated that our child had Trisomy 18, which is a chromosomal abnormality like Down syndrome only much worse and usually fatal.

After many tears and many prayers, I called the doctor’s office and was told we could take the additional step of having a specialized ultrasound exam to further diagnose the condition. Our insurance covered the expensive procedure and we scheduled the first available opening. I then began reading about Trisomy 18 in hopes of learning about recent breakthroughs or amazing success stories. Sadly, I found very little hope.

“We live in a fallen world, full of imperfection,” my parish priest, Father Paul Scalia, had told me earlier that year when we were recovering from a miscarriage. Somehow his words helped me again.

There’s no explanation. Nothing we did wrong, and nothing we could do now … except the right thing.

Two weeks later we were back at the hospital for a special test on an advanced ultrasound machine. As the pediatrician performed the scan we saw our son for the first time. I didn’t know what the doctor was looking for, but to me the baby seemed … perfect. I decided right then to always think of him that way. Perfect.

We welcomed our son the following January, and in a fallen and imperfect world he’s as near to perfection as I dare dream.

He’s 10-years old now, and smart. He reads novels and has never failed to make the honor roll. He’s talented, having played the piano the past four years before switching to percussion last month, and one of his watercolor paintings was selected for display at our city’s museum.

He’s an athlete, too, and usually the tallest kid on the team. He plays catcher, bats fourth in the line-up, and made the all-star team last season. He plays forward on his soccer team and guard on his basketball team. He hunts, fishes, and traps, and loves the outdoors. He’s also about to earn his Arrow of Light award after being in the Cub Scouts since the first grade, and has set the ambitious goal of making Eagle Scout before high school.

But more than all that he’s a sweet boy, a faithful believer, and will make a better man than his father ever was.

I know it sounds like I’m bragging, and I am, but there’s a point. As you may have guessed, my son doesn’t have Trisomy 18.

“The test was a false-positive,” the doctor said as he explained the images on the ultrasound back in 2006. “Sometimes they get it wrong. This is one of those times.”

Sometimes they get it wrong. That’s why I’m sharing this story.

We were blessed with strong convictions and never considered abortion, but many do. Some wait until having that specialized ultrasound, but some don’t.

Killing unborn children because they’re disabled is monstrous, but killing a perfectly healthy child because it’s mistakenly thought to be disabled adds a special bit of horror to this tragedy. Unfortunately, this moral obscenity is legal, protected, and as the reaction to my last column revealed, it’s aggressively defended.

If this is where abortion has taken us, how much further must we descend into barbarism before we either turn away or become forever lost?

4 thoughts on “The day they said my child had a chromosomal abnormality

  1. LtCol (ret) Ed Kennedy

    Wow. What a powerful story of faith and love. Incredible. Every life has value and worth and even young people born with terrible disabilities are miracles of God. This is a tremendous story of faith and belief that God has a plan.

    Reply
  2. Jim

    You are right to reject identity politics. I don’t have to have been a slave owner to know it was wrong. I don’t have to have a disabled kid to know that killing them is wrong.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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