Cynthia Paap: My "trophy" of God's grace

I read this note on Facebook and was so touched by it, I contacted Cynthia and asked if I could share her intimate story of the grave news she received about her baby, the strong suggestion to abort him and the conclusion the Lord brought her to.

Get some tissues, and get ready to experience a story you'll never forget.

My heart is heavy this morning. I feel the need to finally share this story with you, in hopes that it will reach someone who needs to hear it.

April 13, 2010: A doctor brought in the images from my MRI and put them up on a big screen where we could clearly see our baby's spine had stopped forming at the 5th lumbar. She said, "Everything from here down is going to have issues. You'll need to catheterize him at a minimum of every 2 hours, and give him enemas every morning, and lifelong diapers. I can't stress to you enough the importance of catheterization. And in addition to the bowel and urinary issues, he probably won't have sexual function. The day after he's born he'll need a drainage shunt installed in his brain to relieve the swelling in his left ventricle, and those usually get infected and have to be replaced several times throughout a person's life... Because of the brain swelling there's a good chance he'll have a lower IQ than his classmates. Are you set on keeping this pregnancy?"

Me: "Yes."

Doctor: "Alright, but If you continue with this pregnancy, I just need to warm you, you're looking at a lifetime of physical, financial, and emotional pain."

Never in my life did I think I'd someday get pregnant before I was ready, and never in my life did I think I'd have a doctor look me in the eye, tell me my child was going to have a poor quality of life, and that "interrupting" my pregnancy would be the quickest, easiest, and possibly most "civil" solution to our problem. I was 22 weeks pregnant. I could feel William rolling all around... especially if I ate a popsicle or drank something cold, he went nuts!

No doubt he was a living, feeling human being. In fact, a baby's entire spine and nervous system is completely formed at only 23 days gestation. So before a woman even knows she is pregnant, her baby's ability to feel pain is already there. I knew those facts, and my convictions to keep William were solid -- but the picture I was painted was bleak. The doctor handed me a pamphlet (in case I changed my mind) containing information on "Therapeutic Abortions". The pamphlet stated it was a quick and easy process, in which a chemical is injected into the fetal heart, and once the heartbeat stops, labor is induced. Because of the "special" circumstances, I had this option available until 39 weeks gestation, and clergy from every religion were available to comfort me before and after the process.

I gave birth to William at 38 weeks.

It's been a year and a half since we received that awful news, and I'm finally at a place where I feel comfortable sharing what we really felt that day. I want to say that keeping William was an easy choice... but it wasn't all that easy. On the drive home, Josh and I were speechless and could only cry. I cried so hard I was actually wailing. And then an evil thought crept into my mind. We were driving on a bridge over water, and I started fantasizing about hitting a guard rail and going over the side. I thought that would solve everything. I actually felt disappointed when we reached the other side of the bridge safely. I was that deep into depression already. (A few months later I admitted this to Josh, and he said he had that exact same thought as we drove over that bridge. Surely we were both under a very serious attack.)

17 months later, and the only grief I feel is for the fact that I ever grieved at all! I shudder to think of life without William. After giving birth, I adopted the belief that when a man or woman holds their child for the very first time, they get to experience a split second of heaven on earth. We suddenly taste the impossible selfless love we were intended to revel in all along. I wish I could sum it up for you, but I just can't. I love my little William so much. Those who spend time with me know that 10 minutes into his nap I want to run into his nursery and grab him. As wonderful as life before parenting was with just Josh and I in our marital bliss, I equate having William to the movie, The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy is perfectly content with life in black and white, but then she walks through a door and enters a world of color.

I have repented to God for those few hours I spent wishing I could go back in time and prevent getting pregnant. I can't believe that for a short time, I gave into the deception that William's life was not going to be as valuable as a perfectly healthy child. On the eve of his diagnosis, I was consumed with thoughts of being burdened by the extra care he would need. But now that I have him here, my heart is consumed with love... and I would happily lay down my life for him. It is my greatest joy to take care of him, and rather than feeling inconvenienced by the amount of care he needs, I feel sorrow that I cannot forfeit all of my limbs to make him whole.

My first time holding William. Suddenly nothing else mattered.

When it comes to the issue of abortion, the mother feels that giving up the life of her baby will somehow spare her own. If only she could see that as she holds that helpless baby in her arms, suddenly she we would give up every convenience and every dream she ever had for the sake of that baby. But unfortunately, these young mothers don't know. They've been told that what's inside them isn't really a person. In fact, I had a friend tell me that scientists believe they have narrowed down a "depression gene" that can be detected in an early gestation fetus. She said, "So someday the parents will be able to identify that and remove the fetus early on." Wow! What a concept! We can treat pregnancy as a trial and error process that will eventually allow us to filter out imperfections.

That sounds so terribly familiar. Hitler actually declared Jews to be non-human "pests", and somehow convinced millions of people to be okay with their extermination because it was best for their country. We see this as being so very evil, and we feel as though we've learned our lesson and could never allow something like this to be repeated... yet we as Americans, have bought into the same lie once again. We've been brainwashed to think that a baby in the womb is not a person. By branding it a fetus we do not have to admit that abortion is murder. It is the woman's right to choose a quick and easy termination if it will make her situation better.

One in four babies are aborted -- an average of 3,322 lives are terminated each day. We justify this and say there are circumstances where it is acceptable... like if the child is going to be born with downs syndrome. Hitler would have agreed. Do you know that Hitler picked out children with handicaps, lined them up, and shot them to death? We wouldn't think that is okay, but somehow this country does not see how the two scenarios are parallel. He deemed their lives "not valuable", and we think, "What gave him that right to decide that?" Don't you see the irony? What if the USA had just released a statement in the second World War that said, "We believe it is Germany's right to choose what is best for their country. It is a personal choice they have made based off their individual circumstances, and while the situation is unfortunate and not ideal, if is their right to choose."

God help us for becoming such a calloused nation, and for putting people in office that support and even encourage the termination of your people! I feel very strongly about this subject as you can tell. And it is not out of hatred that I speak, but out of an all consuming and almost painful amount of love for both the unborn and their parents. I love these potential parents so much; the thought of them being robbed of the insurmountable joy they could be headed for, grieves me on a level that cannot be described.

William is doing very well, much better than we were told. But even if his diagnosis had been totally correct, his life would be no less valuable to us. I know William's life and even his challenges will bring glory to God. If our story reaches even just one person in time, this note will have served its purpose a thousand times over.


If you've never watched this movie. Watch it now. Then go to Heart Changer to see how you can help infanticide in our country.