NOTE: Daniel and Kelly speak to this question on Episode #23 of The Abel Speaks Podcast. You can listen on Apple, Spotify, or your app of choice.

Daniel Crawford:
Welcome to The Abel Speaks podcast where we speak to commonly asked questions by parents who have received a life-limiting diagnosis for their child. We’re Daniel and Kelly Crawford and we’re glad that you’ve joined us. Okay. Welcome back to The Abel Speaks podcast. Today’s question, we’re going to dive right in, and the question is, when should I deliver?

Kelly Crawford:
This is a question that we get a lot from families and we encourage parents to continually just weigh the pros and cons of when to deliver. It’s a challenging choice of, and just a balancing act, I would say.

And as parents, we want our child to be as developed as possible and as strong as they can possibly be because that gives them the best shot outside of the womb. But because of specific abnormalities or health issues that they have, they might begin to decline in the womb. And if that happens, then it might be wise to choose to change a delivery date.

Daniel Crawford:
Yeah. So most of the time in a more typical common pregnancy, it’s just baby’s going to let you know when it’s ready. Right? You go into labor, water breaks, whatever it is. And so in these situations with a life-limiting diagnosis, it’s often just not that simple and there’s more variables just for us to consider as parents. With that, we’ve seen across the board and across the spectrum, just different parents as they try and define their highest goals and priorities for this journey with their child. And so we spoke to this a little bit in the episode about the mode and method of delivery. And so the same principle applies really to timing. And I would say that if you are a family, and not all families are this way, but if you’re a family that, hey, as we try and trust the Lord day by day, one step at a time, if there is something that we can do to increase or optimize the likelihood that we get some time with our little boy or our little girl outside of the womb while they’re still alive, then we want to place a high value and a high priority on that consideration.

And so with that, moving into the kind of the practical side of the types of things, if that maybe describes you, the types of things you might consider and keep an eye out for, would you want to speak to that a little bit more?

Kelly Crawford:
We would just encourage you to, in all things in this journey, we say this often, but hold it loosely, but also educate and equip yourself on your options and on the specific things going on with your child’s body that’s going to help you determine what might be best in these medical choices that you’re trying to make, including when to deliver.

And so for us, what that looked like is we had discussed once Abel was passed viability, so 24, 26, 28 weeks, what we would do if we felt like he wasn’t progressing well in the womb. And those were specific to his condition and his abnormalities. So if his heart condition declined, then we knew that we would choose to deliver him early.

And if my fluid levels continued to increase, we knew that that might mean that he needed to be delivered early. Or just if he wasn’t moving around as much in the womb, we would in a few times to get an ultrasound just to see how he was doing. And it ended up all being fine.

And we actually ended up delivering him at 39 weeks, so we were full term. But throughout the journey from about 28 weeks to 39 weeks, we were constantly assessing how he was doing and trying to weigh the pros and cons of the whole situation to determine when he should be delivered and what would be best for him to give him time outside of the womb and time for us as a family.

Daniel Crawford:
I think you emphasizing that piece of constantly assessing and evaluating, knowing the options and the possibilities, and then just taking it one move at a time was really wise. And I think that because if you go in and it’s like, “No, we know way early exactly what our plan’s going to be,” man, plans change.

And to be able to be equipped and ready to move towards a decision is very different than premeditating and deciding something no matter what we see. And so in all of that, and especially these episodes that touch on kind of the medical side of this journey, it’s never us telling you exactly what you should do, it’s us telling you, “Hey, here’s things you could do and that we’ve seen done and that you could consider too as you continue to process the many decisions that accompany this journey.” And so any final thoughts?

Kelly Crawford:
Yeah. The last thing I’d say too is the Lord knows exactly what day your child’s going to be born. He knows exactly what that day’s going to look like. And I think we can trust and rest in that. It is this journey is really overwhelming and feels, it just feels really hard to make these decisions for our children because we know that literally feels like life and death choices.

And just that if we feel like, oh, if we make the wrong one, we might not get time with them outside of the womb. And so just to encourage you that God knows exactly what that day’s going to look like. And every family that we’ve walked with, they have said just that their child’s birthday has been a great day and one that they look back on was sweet and fond memories.

And so that can be true of every family that has the proper support and equipping. And so that’s kind of what we hope to do and exist to do as a ministry and are constantly praying for our families, just that that would be true of their child’s birthday and it always is, so.

Daniel Crawford:
Well, that wraps up this episode of The Abel Speaks podcast. We appreciate you tuning in and we will see you next time. Hey, Friends. Thanks for listening in. We hope this content has been helpful. At Abel Speaks, we exist to support families who have chosen to carry a child with a life-limiting diagnosis, and we want you to know that the foundation of that support is rooted in relationships.

And so if you are a parent in this circumstance, then by all means, continue listening in, but we’d really encourage you to reach out by sending an email to support@abelspeaks.org. Again, our heartfelt prayer is that this episode has served you in some way and that we might have the opportunity to serve you further in the future. The Abel Speaks podcast is produced, mixed and edited by the team at Sound of a Rose.