Sunday, 01 October 2023
Baby Zion's 20-week ultrasound Baby Zion's 20-week ultrasound Kelsey Kurtinitis

Faith, courage, and love - Family responds to prenatal diagnosis

Wednesday, June 8, began like most other days. Morning snuggles with the boys, breakfast and Bible reading, a few light chores to start out the day …

But this day did not remain as other days. In fact, it turned into 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 went. 

After an hour-long ultrasound of watching our beautiful son wiggle and kick on the monitor, the doctor came in and spoke words that would change our entire world in a matter of minutes. 

We were told that our precious son, Zion Alexander, has severe brain and heart defects, in addition to other markers that led them to believe he has Trisomy 18. They said they do not think he will make it to term, and that if he does he will likely pass away right after birth.

I cannot accurately describe to you what this moment felt like. I can't explain the way it instantaneously felt like every ounce of breath was knocked out of me, or how it felt like I was watching the doctor tell this horrific news to somebody else. 

I sat there, breathless, heart pounding, praying, listening, while simultaneously pondering how the doctor could continue speaking 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 take a sigh of relief that it wasn't real. 

But it was real. I haven't woken up. And after a quick blood draw from me they were able to confirm that our sweet Zion has Trisomy 18. 

[Click here to subscribe to Pregnancy Help News!]

We have rejected the inhumane, illegal, and disturbingly repetitive offers and suggestions of abortion and are carrying our beautiful son to term. 

You might wonder why we would choose to continue to carry our son with a fatal diagnosis. You might be under 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 that's a lie. 

We don't preemptively murder people when they are diagnosed with a fatal form of cancer or other terminal illness. We don't stab and dismember a person as soon as they enter hospice care. And thank goodness for that. 

These are human beings we are talking about. Our son is a human being, with inherent dignity, value, and rights, regardless of any diagnosis. We love him. We will not give up on him. 

Tweet This: Our son is a human being, with inherent dignity, value, and rights, regardless of any diagnosis.

If it is true that he will pass away either before birth or shortly after, then we want to enjoy every single 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 and comfort and family, which is all he has ever known. 

God holds life and death in His hands. We will accept whatever the Lord has for us in this trial, no matter the outcome. We know our God can and does do miracles, but even if He doesn't, He is still good and we put our trust in Him. 

We are so thankful for the faithfulness of God. 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 this. We are so thankful that we do not grieve as those who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

I am sure as time goes on we will have a lot more to share about this. We are taking everything one day at a time, leaning on the Lord and on each other a lot.

Each day with Zion is a gift - just like 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 are still enjoying time with Zion every day - talking to him, singing to him, reading to him, and loving him completely just as we did before. He is our son and a part of our family forever, and no diagnosis could 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 amended version of a June 20 Facebook post made by Kelsey. The family welcomes prayers for healing for Zion, and for the family as they walk through this trial: "Pray that we would endure as Christians, that we would suffer well, and that God would be glorified in this story no matter what that looks like."

Leave a comment