A Tennessee dad opened up about the joy and struggles his family has faced five years after he and his wife chose to carry their precious daughter to term, though they were advised by doctors to induce labor at 20 weeks of pregnancy and “try again” because of a rare, debilitating brain disorder.
Eric Brown, a photographer and a father of three children, gave his family’s testimony Thursday before a large crowd gathered for the third annual Evangelicals for Life conference, hosted by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
Brown, of Nashville, emotionally recounted the decision that faced him and his wife, Ruth, when they were informed at their 20-week ultrasound that their unborn youngest daughter, Pearl, is suffering from a disorder that doctors deemed “not compatible with life.”
“After a pregnancy that was wrought with heartache and hope, she was diagnosed with a condition known as Alobar holoprosencephaly during our 20-week ultrasound,” Brown recalled, referring to a disorder that caused premature stalling of brain development and Pearl to be born with a cleft upper lip and inverted nose.
“We were advised on that day to induce labor, say goodbye and try again,” he remembered.
Brown explained that the last thing he and Ruth wanted to to do was to take away the life-giving haven that the mother was giving their daughter before she was ready to survive outside the womb. However, Brown explained that it was a “belittling” experience to try and convince the doctor that they wanted to carry Pearl to term.
“We knew very well what would happen if we did [what the doctor suggested], that there was no way that Pearl’s body had developed enough to survive outside of Ruth’s womb,” Brown said. “She was being sustained in there and God was still knitting her together. It seemed too cruel to us to take away the very system that was helping her broken body do what it was incapable of doing on its own.”
Pearl Joy Brown was born alive on July 27, 2012. Brown assured the audience that God has a reason for why Pearl was born with an inverted nose, lack of vision and hearing and an inability to move any part of her body “on purpose.”
“As rattling as those initial appointments were, we were confident that God was executing a plan for Pearl that He had written before the foundation of the world,” Brown said. “I had spent previous years doing reading on suffering and disability and God’s goodness and sovereignty over such situations. We were aware on the deepest possible level that this was His doing, that He was working and that the primary reason to carry Pearl to term was not for her sake but because we ought to not interrupt the master Creator while He is at work.”
“He lovingly gave her a tiny, hollow, single-hemisphere of a brain at the tip of her brainstem. He was calling all of us to trust Him. Though He didn’t necessarily call Pear’s disability ‘good,’ He was certainly working all of it together for our good and His glory.”
According to Brown, the doctors were not confident that Pearl would survive, stating that doctors expected Pearl to die before she was born and again during the delivery and again in the early moments of her life.
But five years later, Pearl still lives even though the Browns are seemingly less optimistic about her health and have made very large sacrifices in their lives to care for their daughter, who will never be able to care for herself.
“I pleaded with God to give us that difficult life but not to go so far as to take Pearl’s life. I wanted so badly the privilege of pushing her around in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank strapped to the side but I had no idea what I was asking. Often, when I look back on the desperation of those prayers, I am so thankful that I had no idea. Perhaps, if I had known how hard it would be without truly grasping how wonderfully rich life is, that I wouldn’t have pleaded Pearl’s case as vigorously as I did.”
Click here to read more.
Source: Christian Post