Losing My Baby and the Two Greatest Lessons I Learned

This true story was submitted to us by Elizabeth Mainardi

Before I begin, I want to make something clear—there is no debate about when human life begins. Many people will argue this, that it’s a matter of faith or religion or personal conviction, but the point is the same as what the American Medical Association declared with certainty in 1857—the unborn child is human even from the very moment of conception.  

You’ll hear the same thing from the professors at Harvard Medical School, the doctors at the Mayo Clinic, and you’ll read this in every embryology textbook used in medical schools and universities across this country.

Every doctor in this country is taught this. It’s not faith, it’s fact.

This new being, even as a single cell, contains a unique set of DNA from the very first moment, and as soon as 21 days later, this individual’s heart begins to beat. Six weeks after fertilization, the brain waves are detectable. At eight weeks, this embryo contains all of the organs necessary for life and might even be able to feel pain.

Just to give you some perspective, most abortions occur after this point.

My pregnancy was incredibly difficult even from the first day. I was sick all the time. I had a threatened miscarriage, a case of severe flu, food poisoning, and even appendicitis where I had to have an emergency appendectomy, all within the first four months.

For all four incidents, I was hospitalized, and each time, our baby made it through. I went for all the routine tests, ultrasounds, and in all things, our baby was doing fine. This child was a fighter.

In August, at five months pregnant, my husband and I went to find out whether we were having a boy or a girl. The ultrasound technician came in and took the necessary measurements, but looked somewhat disgusted. She walked out of the room and said that she had to get the doctor.

She said as she was leaving, “By the way, if you care, it’s a girl.”

We were stunned.

The doctor came in and explained to us that our baby girl was not growing the way she should be. She was too small, she had severe birth defects, and she was not going to make it to term.  She told us that she had skeletal displasia, which means her bones weren’t growing enough to keep up with her organs. Eventually, she would suffocate because the organs inside of her would continue growing at a normal rate and her rib cage would not keep up.

She urged us to terminate and told us that she could refer us to places that would take care of the problem. Our beautiful baby girl was now a “problem.”

We never considered abortion.

This child is a gift, no matter what crosses God gave her to carry. All I can do as her mother is carry her to term; that is my gift to her, and God will do what He will. The following months were full of bad ultrasounds, rude nurses, disbelieving technicians, and multiple references for abortion clinics. In the minds of all who knew “so much more” than we did, we were fools.

Our baby was broken, wounded, never going to make it, a worthless chunk of tissue. She was going to be mentally inferior, she had a skeletal dysplasia, her bones were too short, her chest was too small, her heart was too slow.

My obstetrician even said she thought she could get permission for me to have my abortion at a Catholic hospital, if that would make me feel better. What a shame, she said, that this baby was given to the two of you, two people who would never consider an abortion.

But they, the ones with all the knowledge, didn’t understand. I prayed and I knew that God would show those doctors what I knew all along – my baby girl was worth something.

The doctor suggested we have an amniocentesis in order to diagnose her condition. There was a 1% risk of losing the pregnancy from the test itself, but we agreed because it was important to deliver her at a hospital that could care for whatever conditions she would have.

So, the day came for my appointment and I went, and my baby girl made it through. She was a fighter, and her little heart was beating so strong. She made me proud. We never stopped praying. Her little chromosomes were perfect, thank God.

God heard our prayers, and the journey got easier.

Each blood test came and went, and we prayed, and they were perfect. Maybe our daughter wasn’t mentally slow after all, but her heart was all wrong, they said. We had to have an echocardiogram to see our baby girl’s heart, and it was perfectly formed. God was answering our prayers. He was showing us this little girl, our Claire, was a fighter.

She was here for a reason.

It was October. I was seven and a half months pregnant. We had gotten a new doctor who would be more supportive of our decision to keep our child, and with all the good news we were getting, I could see that God was working through our prayers. The doctor walked in, started looking at the screen as he began the ultrasound, and told me that my baby had passed away.

Claire had died.   

There is nothing more wonderful than being pregnant and knowing that your body contains a new life.

There is nothing worse than knowing that your baby has died and you have to go to the hospital to give birth to a child you will never take home.

Claire Elizabeth was born at 8:25 AM on Thursday, October 13, 2005. Incidentally, Claire’s birthday is the Feast Day of our Lady of Fatima, a feast involving Mary’s appearances to little children. Claire was baptized by a parish priest that very day, and her funeral was on Wednesday, October 19, and we buried her in a cemetery full of other babies.

At this point, I want you to take a look at the photo of the little feet.  

As you can see, there are 10 perfect little toes. This is not a blob of tissue. Assuming that human life has value and assuming we listen to science which says that human life begins at conception, there are only four differences between that person and you or me—size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency.

These are the feet of a human being whose life meant something, because this human being was a child of God just like you and me.

These are the actual footprints of my daughter Claire. God had a plan for her life, and she lived it out according to his plan. And the sad part is, it is legal to abort her and babies like her, healthy or otherwise, in all 50 states of this country.

So why did I tell this story? To what end? There are two lessons I hope we can learn from this.

The first lesson is clear—God sends us children for a reason and they deserve the chance to live.

Women have many reasons for having an abortion. Some women will be raped and conceive a child and decide that they cannot go through with the pregnancy. Some will say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or other responsibilities.

But what’s interesting about these reasons are that they are besides the point – our humanity does not depend on the circumstances of our conception.  

Jeremiah 1:3 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.” That’s a pretty profound thought – you were meant to be, I was meant to be, and Claire was meant to be.

No matter how you came into this world, no matter who put you in your mother’s womb or how happy your mother might have been about it, you were planned. God intended for you to be. The timing for a baby might seem wrong, the body might not be perfect, the chromosomes might be imperfect, and problems may come, but human life is sacred. Yours, mine, and the unborn baby.

The last lesson is perhaps the most obvious – the battle against abortion is one that is entirely uphill.

We have some doctors, nurses, and ultrasound technicians, who have forgotten the little bodies that grow inside the mothers they treat are human beings, deserving of life, precious and loved by God.

The media touts the injustice of abortion as a “right” and anyone who stands against it is bigoted and against women. If people who know the science can be blinded and the media can be so biased, then we can only imagine what happens with the mothers who go to obtain these abortions.

They don’t really understand what grows inside of them, because if they did, they wouldn’t do the things they do.

We have a fight ahead of us, but it’s a fight worth fighting, and we have to bind together. We can’t stand idly by and we can’t avoid the controversy – there are precious lives at stake. We need to stand up for those who can’t be seen, speak for those who can’t be heard, and pray that these unborn children get the chance that the rest of us have – the chance to live.

There is no more crucial issue facing our world today.

4 out of 5 women who board a Stork Bus choose life for their child.

For just $30 a month, you can partner with us in empowering women and saving lives of innocent children. Our mission is to make abortion unimaginable and we can’t do it alone.