Telford, UK – A couple in England is sharing their story about how seeing their developing son smiling on an ultrasound caused them to reject their doctor’s advice to have an abortion.
Katyia Rowe and Shane Johnson, both 26, state that they were informed that their son, who they named Lucian, would not likely ever walk or talk as his brain was not developing properly. Katyia was told that she could have an abortion up to 24 weeks if she chose to end his life.
“We were devastated to be told our son’s brain abnormalities were so severe they were life limiting and we should consider a termination,” she said.
However, when further scans and tests were performed on Lucian to discover the extent of the malformation, Katyia was surprised at what she saw. Lucian, 20 weeks (5 months gestation), was smiling, blowing bubbles, waving his arms and kicking inside of her.
“[W]hen I saw him smiling and playing inside me I knew I couldn’t end his life,” she told the Daily Mail. “Despite all the awful things I was being told, while he was inside me his quality of life looked to be wonderful and no different to any other baby’s, he was a joy to watch.”
“As I watched, I knew that while I was carrying him he still had a quality of life, and it was my duty as a mother to protect that no matter how long he had left,” Katyia added. “He deserved to live.”
Kaytia was then informed that even if Lucian did live, his life expectancy would not be more than five years of age.
“It didn’t phase me at all,” she explained. “It was ironic because I had never considered myself particularly maternal, but now I wanted nothing more than to care for my son and give him the best quality of life possible. I was more than happy to dedicate my life fully to his care.”
Katyia said that she enjoyed observing her son’s personality even before he was born despite the grim prognosis.
“We learned he loved the shower and would kick when I sprayed the water on my tummy,” she recalled. “I would talk to him and play him music because I wanted him to experience as much as possible.”
“He may not have been born, but he was already our son, and I took each movement as a sign we had done the right thing,” Katyia added. “As a mother, you will do anything for your child, and for me, [because] I became a mother as soon as I fell pregnant, that job had started already.”
Lucian after birth
(Photo credit: http://lucian.johnson.muchloved.com)
In October of last year, Katyia went into labor, and Lucian was born weighing a healthy 6 lbs. 10 oz. Following his birth, he was whisked away, where doctors placed him on a ventilator and gave him extra-special attention.
However, four hours later, doctors informed Katyia and Shane that their son would likely die within minutes. They rushed to his side, where he was then placed in their arms.
‘The love and joy I felt the moment they put Lucian in my arms told me it had all been worth it,” she said. “My son looked utterly perfect.”
But Lucian held on longer than the doctors expected.
“He managed to defy [the doctor's prognosis] for another 5 hours and fought long enough to have cuddles and kisses with his mommy and daddy,” Shane explained on the memorial website he created for Lucian. “He even managed to fight to meet some other family members that illegally drove at high speeds just to get there.”
“[W]hen the doctors said there was nothing they could do, that’s when by one look between Katyia and myself we knew then everyone had to give him their last kisses as we knew we needed to let him go,” he said. “They put the screen around us and they took away all his tubes. Then finally with Katyia holding him, they removed the ventilation tube. Even with our hearts breaking and not wanting to do it, we knew in the depths of our souls we were doing the right thing for our son.”
Nine hours after birth, Lucian passed away as his mother held him.
“Were so thankful to have had that time with Lucian for those few hours, and words can’t describe just how [blessed] we are to be the parents of such a beautiful, strong willed little boy who through our tears, stories and memories will live on in our hearts forever,” Shane said.
Katyia likewise remarked that she is glad that she did not choose to abort her son.
“I thought I didn’t want to be a mother, but Lucian taught me it is the most wonderful job in the world, and I will always be grateful for that,” she said.