“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.”
January is Respect Life Month. This year I’m the Aunt of micro preemie TTTS identical twins born at 25 weeks. Isabella born to heaven. Sara fighting for her health & development in the NICU. Both unique, fully alive human beings. Both fully capable of being legally aborted.
After weeks of anticipation (and weeks of cold virus and bacterial infections that aren’t compatible with NICU visitations and medically fragile children), I recently visited my amazing 30 week old niece in the NICU. She is full of personality and spunk. So herself. Not me. Not her mom. Not Dad. Not Grandma. Not her siblings. So Sara. Unrepeatable Sara.
As I saw her roommate fighting for his life or other medically fragile babies in incubators around the NICU, I wondered: What if instead of terminating babies’ lives, we put resources, energy, & creativity into advancing medical care, diagnoses, treatments, & uncovering more holistic care for babies and mothers? What if we developed fetoscopic surgery procedures instead of developing abortion procedures? What if we sowed hope & possibilities in difficult situations instead of fear & hopelessness? What if we empowered & assisted men & women as mothers and fathers? What would our nation be like then?
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Unborn, pray for Us!
“O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.” – O, Antiphons
Advent a season of preparation- preparation for the gift of a child. While we prepare in joyful anticipation for the Christ child’s birth, we also prepare to bury a child. During the 2nd week of Advent, my family & I will celebrate her life & mourn the loss of my 23 week old niece while her 26 week old sister fights to develop & grow in the NICU. Advent for us is a season of joy & sorrow & of loss & life. Mostly unwavering love.
This Advent heightens that the joyful birth of Christ is intertwined with the Cross of Christ & the Resurrection. One doesn’t exist separate from the other as with the Christian life. As a Catholic Christian, the crucifix & the manger bring me great comfort & perspective. The wood of the manger leads to the wood of the Cross, but neither is the final word. Because we look forward to the Resurrection of the Dead & the Life of the world to come.
Our family friend & priest that baptized me offered Mass for my family & for the repose of the soul of my niece Isabella at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. My best friend is travelling in the Philippines praying for our family. Two innocent little children deemed less than human by many have not only touched our hearts but people all over the world. In the Spirit of Advent, the season of preparation & anticipation of the birth of a child, we find the profound beauty & importance of the presence of a child- a child in utero.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you…” -Jeremiah 1:5
I’ve kept mostly quiet about the TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome) pregnancy my brother & sister-in-law are navigating. After 2 emergency fetoscopic surgeries 4.5 hours away, dozens of local Maternal Fetal Medicine appointments, & hospital bed rest, my precious identical twin nieces were born via emergency extraction at 25 weeks Thursday, November 29th. Isabella was born to heaven, and Sara is in the NICU. Mom is struggling with complications, but she is beginning to show signs of improvement.
Both baby girls are so loved & cherished by their parents, siblings, & extended family. Our lives are forever transformed by their presence! They’re parents have fought hard for their girls health and wellness despite the many challenges and risks.
We’ve experienced extraordinary medical situations & miscarriages in our family, but our present situation is uncharted territory. The fragility of earthly life is inescapable, changing within a moment with minimal control or certainty. The prolonged reality unavoidable. Our holidays will be involved in the best and most challenging sense. The intensive, specialized NICU care of Sara will continue into the New Year and beyond. And eventually our family will gather to celebrate her life and mourn the loss of Isabella.
But the certainty of God’s merciful & unending love never changes. He has never abandoned us or the girls. Through the confusion, heartache, & stress, the gentle breath of the Holy Spirit sustains our weary spirits. The sacramental life of the Church brings purpose, perspective, meaning, & grace. The twins’ lives are a catalyst for entering into a deeper understanding of authentic love, trust, hope, & joy. The twins are bringing us closer to heaven if we chose to respond to them through the eyes of God. By love refined…
Prayers are much appreciated! God bless. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!