Wednesday, June 8 began like most other days. Morning cuddles with the boys, breakfast and Bible reading, some light chores to start the day off right…
But this day did not remain like the other days. In fact, it became a day we will never forget.
On June 8, we were told to go to the doctor that afternoon to do an urgent follow-up ultrasound on our son. We dropped everything and left.
After an hour-long ultrasound watching our beautiful son squirm and kick at the monitor, the doctor walked in and spoke words that would change our entire world in minutes.
We were told that our precious son, Zion Alexander, had severe brain and heart defects, in addition to other markers that led them to believe he had trisomy 18. They said they did not believe that would live to term, and if he does, will he likely die shortly after birth.
I cannot accurately describe to you what that moment was like. I can’t explain how I instantly felt like every ounce of breath was taken from me, or how I felt like watching the doctor break this horrible news to someone else.
I sat there, breathless, my heart pounding, praying, listening, while simultaneously pondering how the doctor could keep talking when time itself seemed to stand still. I felt like I was in one of those realistic nightmares, the kind where you’d give anything to just wake up and breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn’t real.
But it was real. I did not wake up. And after a quick blood test on my part, they were able to confirm that our sweet Sion had trisomy 18.
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We have rejected the inhumane, illegal and disturbing and repetitive abortion offers and suggestions and we are bringing our beautiful son to term.
You might wonder why we would choose to continue carrying our son with a fatal diagnosis. You might get the (false) impression that having an abortion in this situation is the compassionate or loving thing to do. I’m here to tell you that’s a lie.
We do not preemptively murder people when they are diagnosed with a deadly form of cancer or other terminal illness. We don’t stab or dismember a person as soon as they enter palliative care. And thank god for that.
These are human beings we are talking about. Our son is a human being, with inherent dignity, worth and rights, regardless of diagnosis. We like it. We won’t let him go.
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If it’s true that he will die before birth or soon after, then we want to enjoy every moment we have with him now. And if or when the time comes for him to pass away, we want him to be surrounded by love, comfort and family, that’s all he’s ever known.
God holds life and death in his hands. We will accept all that the Lord has for us in this trial, regardless of the outcome. We know that our God can and does work miracles, but even if he doesn’t, he is still good and we trust him.
We are so thankful for God’s faithfulness. Even in our deepest moments of grief in this trial, we can feel Christ carrying us through each day, and we trust Him to carry us through it. We are so grateful that we are not crying like those who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
I’m sure over time we’ll have a lot more to share on this. We take everything one day at a time, relying heavily on the Lord and on each other.
Every day with Sion is a gift – just as every day is always a gift from God. So much has changed in such a short time, but at the same time, it’s almost as if nothing has changed. We still spend time with Zion every day – talking to him, singing to him, reading to him and loving him completely as we did before. He is our son and part of our family forever, and no amount of diagnosis can ever change that.
Editor’s note: Kelsey and Joel Kurtinitis live in central Iowa with their sons Judah, Abram, Obadiah and Zion. This article is a slightly edited version of a June 20 Facebook post made by Kelsey. The family welcomes prayers of healing for Zion and for the family as they go through this ordeal: “Pray that we endure as Christians, that we suffer well and that God be glorified in this story no matter what it is. looks like .”