When they married, Joyce and Andrew Bodoh were like many young couples — life was good and they looked forward to starting a family. After trying for a while, they conceived, but then Joyce suffered a miscarriage. When they found out she was pregnant again, they were thrilled. Not long after, Joyce was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition of severe nausea and vomiting, so she had a PICC line put in, a thin tube that administered medication to help her function.
“As long as the baby is healthy, I don’t care if I suffer this,” Joyce remembers thinking to herself.
The day after the PICC line came out, the couple went to see their perinatologist (a doctor experienced in a wide range of maternal-fetal conditions), who performed an ultrasound. “Then they tell us our baby girl has a rare brain disorder and is missing a large part of her brain,” recalls Joyce. “And the doctor says, ‘As a doctor I have to tell you that you have the option of abortion; I’m not recommending it, but by law I have to tell you. And this condition is so serious you should go to another specialist.’”
So the couple drove five hours to see more doctors, where Joyce had an MRI so they could look at the baby’s brain and do more tests. Then Joyce and Andrew found themselves in a tiny, claustrophobic room.
“The doctor walked in and began speaking with us. She asked our baby’s name [Elizabeth] and then used her name while she suggested an abortion — although she never actually used the word,” explains Joyce. “She told us we had two weeks left to make a decision.”
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