My name is Paulina. I am thirty-one years old. I have been married for twelve years. My husband Mark is thirty-six years old. We have two daughters: Caroline (aged twelve) and Veronica (aged seven). We are expecting our third child (Dominica), whom I am carrying under my heart.
When I became pregnant, I was being treated with a particular drug for a skin condition. The use of this drug categorically ruled out my becoming pregnant even six months after undergoing this treatment. According to the doctors and books I consulted, the drug I was on had powerful teratogenic effects, i.e. it was very harmful to the development of the embryo. Knowing this, my husband and I who were using natural family planning were being very careful. But our move, change of residence, and the accompanying stress caused me to make a mistake in charting my cycle, and I became pregnant.
At first I couldn’t believe it. I thought it wasn’t possible. My first visit to the doctor was a nightmare. He said there was no chance of delivering a healthy child. I begged him to help me. He told me to go to the waiting room while he inquired with a number of pharmacologists and hospitals. Alas, when he called me back in, the situation was even worse. His diagnosis was devastating: “This drug has one-hundred percent teratogenic effects. There is no chance of the child being born healthy. It runs the highest risk of having severe cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, gross malformation, Down syndrome…” These were but a few of the conditions he named. (They were also clearly indicated on the pamphlet accompanying the drug.) The doctor added that in my case there was a distinct possibility that all these conditions would appear at once. Finally, after his monologue and my bout of sobbing, he added by way of kindness that there was a remedy. He said he would see me through it. The medical procedure would not be difficult in my case. He reckoned it would all be over within a week. The remedy he proposed was abortion—killing my child! I asked him how much time I had to think about it. He replied there was no time at all and there was nothing to think about, since delay would only make matters worse. He told me to return in three days, regardless of the decision I had come to.
I left the place in tears, stumbling along as if I were drunk. I called my husband. After hearing what I had to tell him, he told me he had nothing to say for the moment; he needed time to pray. As long as I live, I will thank God for my husband’s attitude at such a moment!
The next day my husband said that it was God who had given us this child, and that we could not destroy it. We ought then to entrust the matter to God and wait. This was not easy. We consulted other doctors, hoping for another diagnosis, but in each instance I received the same hard blow. All were of the same opinion. I heard things like: “If you decide to have the baby, it will be a vegetable, not a human being. Don’t you realize what this means? This way you will destroy your family and marriage.”
Satan knew where to strike—and he struck in the tenderest places. Was our marriage and family, which I had fought for so hard, to be destroyed? I could not let this happen! What was I to do? Kill? Kill my child? A whirl of thoughts seethed in my head. Needing time to think, I went back to my doctor to secure time off from work. He refused to sign the release form. On the monitor I could see the ultrasound. The doctor said the gestational sac had stopped developing. Another blow! He also refused to issue me with a maternity card, since he was convinced I would soon be having a miscarriage or require an abortion. I visited several other doctors; none of them held out any hope.
I wanted to go to the seaside for a few days with my husband and children. But the doctor tried to discourage me, since—as he put it—more than likely he would be scraping the uterus and removing the contents that very week. I waited another two days and then, taking the matter into my own hands, I left for the seaside to enjoy a little vacation with my family. It was not an easy time. My husband and I quarreled constantly. Satan wanted to convince us that the doctors were telling the truth. I began to think, “Perhaps the doctors are right. I may indeed lose my husband and family.” We returned home, and all the time I desperately wondered what I should do. “There’s still time,” I told myself. “It’s only the eighth week. The law still permits it.” And then God entered with His power and might.
One night I was unable to sleep. Finally, in the early hours of the morning, I nodded off and had a dream. Demonic beings were attacking me. To protect myself, I began to say the Lord’s Prayer. When I came to the words, “Thy will be done,” the demons vanished. I woke up terrified and covered in sweat.
For me that was a clear, distinct sign. When I agreed to do God’s will, the evil spirits fled. The child I carried under my heart was not my possession. It was not I that gave it life, and so I had no right to this life. As its mother, I had my duties toward it. From then on, I stopped considering the possibility of an abortion; instead, I begged God to give me the strength to carry out His will—even if, humanly speaking, it seemed very hard to do, since it might very well entail having to care for an invalid child for the rest of my life.
The day came for the medical examination. On the way to the clinic, my husband and I stopped to pray that God might help us to accept whatever came of the tests. Then came the miracle! “There is no sign of genetic damage,” said the doctor conducting the tests. “The baby looks quite healthy.” We were delighted. But this was only the first round of tests. More tests would have to be done in the twentieth week of pregnancy; and so the uncertainty remained.
What happened in our family during this time of waiting was also a miracle. In September my husband and I began praying the rosary every day. We joined the Domestic Church community, where we met some marvelous people. This was very important to me, since I knew no one in our new place of residence. Now we made friends with several couples with whom we could deepen our relationship with God. We also began to read Holy Scripture every day.
Thus came the marvelous time when Jesus began to act in our lives. We now engage regularly in intercessory prayer and have entrusted out whole family to God. We have tossed out of the house all lucky charms and children’s stories and books dealing with magic. An atmosphere of incredible peace, filled with trust, reigns over our family.
While traveling to the city for the next round of tests, I was terrified. The tests were completed and—the result was incredible. Another miracle! All the baby’s organs were healthy, without flaw or genetic damage. Glory to God for this!
I know there is still a long road ahead of us, but every day I beg God for the grace of a complete conversion for our family. For God nothing is impossible, and glory to Him for this! I also beg your prayers for my husband, our children, and myself.