The Gosnell Case and My Heart For Tiny Babies
Like many in the pro-life community, I watched in horror as the FBI raided Kermit Gosnell's abortion clinic back in 2010. As much as I wanted to turn away from the gruesome descriptions of the carnage that took place at his hands I felt compelled to read the stories and acknowledge the tragedy of so many precious lives lost.
Last month, Gosnell's criminal actions finally made national news as he faced trial and now awaits a verdict. Though the case is rightfully getting media attention, I couldn't read or watch this time. I'm a mom now, a mom whose heart was captured by teeny tiny babies.
In February, my twin boys were born prematurely at 31 weeks and 6 days. Essentially, I was 7 months pregnant when they entered this world. One weighed 3 pounds 4 ounces, and the other weighed 3 pounds 15 ounces. Prior to their birth I had never seen or held a baby that small.
For five long weeks, the NICU was our home. Every day I witnessed babies much smaller and much more fragile than mine working hard to grow and survive. These babies who were the same size as the ones Gosnell killed, and in some states are legal to kill under the guise of a woman's choice.
My heart will always be drawn to the tiny NICU babies. It's all too familiar. I can remember the exact sound of a premature baby's grunt as he struggles to take his first breath. I know the fear and uncertainty that comes with touching and holding such a delicate, little life. I know the anguish of seeing your tiny baby get poked and prodded in an attempt to preserve his life. When I read about a tiny baby being slaughtered in such terrifying ways, my heart breaks. It feels personal. It feels like I know those babies. I can't bear it.
Our time in the NICU changed us. We were staunchly pro-life before, but now we are even more so. I turn away from the coverage not because I don't care, but because I care too much. There are some who turn away because they are scared. They are scared of what they might find out and about what they might see. In some ways, I understand why it can be hard for people to want to look at and recognize a life so small.
If I am completely honest, I will admit that I was scared to look at my boys for the first time, just between three and four pounds each. Our tour of the NICU the night before their birth settled some of my fears, but awakened new ones. I had never seen babies that premature before, and I had no idea what they would look like. The absence of pudgy toes and the normal baby fat can make for a sickly looking baby. Seeing them in less than healthy conditions frightened me.
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