“Delva Netane—California, USA,” Liahona, June 2018
Four months into her second pregnancy, Delva was told that her baby had a rare chromosome disorder called trisomy 13. There was little chance for the baby’s survival, and because Delva’s life could also be at risk, doctors repeatedly advised her to abort the pregnancy. Faced with an uncertain outcome, Delva chose to trust Heavenly Father no matter what happened.
Christina Smith, photographer
I was told my baby wouldn’t survive for more than an hour if she lived at all. And if she did live, I was told she would have no quality of life. My doctor strongly advised me to terminate the pregnancy. I went to another doctor and was told the same thing: terminate the pregnancy.
Then I went to a doctor who was a friend and a member of the Church. I hoped the Spirit might prompt him to provide a different diagnosis. He looked at all the test results and ultrasounds and expressed the same concern as the other doctors. But he told me he would fast and pray for my family and hope for the best.
I saw many different doctors and specialists throughout my pregnancy. Each time they suggested termination because they feared the pregnancy would put my life at risk. But I couldn’t imagine doing that.
My husband and I were willing to live with whatever happened. If our daughter passed away, we would know that she is a precious spirit. If she lived and it was going to be a struggle, we had faith that we would be able to handle it.
It was still very difficult. I tried to keep my emotions inside because I had a two-year-old daughter and I didn’t want her to see me fall apart. I didn’t know what to do, what to think, or where to turn for help. My husband, friends, and family were supportive, but I felt that they did not fully understand what I was going through. The only person who could truly understand was the Lord. I prayed continually for comfort and guidance.
Eventually, I met with our bishop and explained what was going on. He invited the ward to fast for our family. This was a turning point for me. I began to feel heaven’s guiding light in every decision I had to make.
At eight and a half months, I went in for a 4D ultrasound.
Our baby was due in a few weeks, and I realized that it could be the end. I also wanted to have a recording of my daughter’s heartbeat to put inside a teddy bear to have something to remember her by.
In previous ultrasounds, doctors couldn’t see any physical features. Because of this, they said our daughter’s hands would be stubs and her face would be deformed. The images in a 4D ultrasound are more detailed, so when the technician began the ultrasound, I saw my daughter’s perfect hand waving at me on the screen. I also saw two perfect eyes and a perfect mouth. I had an overwhelming feeling that she wasn’t going to die.
When our daughter, MeLa, was born, specialists were standing by but were not needed. MeLa did not have trisomy 13. Doctors and specialists could not explain why, but my husband and I knew it was a miracle.
After MeLa was born, doctors recommended additional genetic testing to determine if she had any abnormalities. The test results revealed that she did have a rare genetic condition. The geneticist was concerned that MeLa would be blind, deaf, and unable to walk and talk. Today, however, while she does have some developmental delays, MeLa is able to see, hear, and use a training device to assist her in walking. She also says words here and there. She’s the happiest kid!
We are so grateful for the blessings we have received through this whole process. We know that Heavenly Father is the ultimate Creator and the ultimate Decider of life. We are just blessed to be a part of it. Every day we look at MeLa and know that she’s a miracle. Our children bring happiness to our lives and remind us that we have much to be grateful for.