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Mom Chooses Life for Trisomy 18 Baby

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“We did all those tests with the previous two, so we felt like our odds of that ever happening to us were, I mean, pretty much non-existent,” said Will Mortensen.  

Will and Sarah Mortensen had been looking forward to this day in November 2017. Sarah, 38 years old and 10 weeks pregnant, was getting the results of her prenatal screening. Having had two healthy children, the couple expected a good report. They’d also find out if their new addition was a boy or a girl. 

Sarah said, “I was just waiting at the phone to get that call, and sure enough got the call. My doctor said, 'Sarah I need to let you know your baby tested positive for Trisomy 18.' And right away I knew what that meant, basically my child wasn’t going to make it.”

Also known as Edward’s Syndrome, Trisomy 18 is a birth disorder in which babies carry an extra chromosome 18. Of those who do live full term, 90 to 95% don’t survive the first year. 

“I felt like, oh my gosh, I’m going to lose this child. How will I ever be the same? How will I be able to tell my other children? And how will this affect us, you know,” said Sarah. 

Before hanging up, there was still one thing Sarah needed to know. “I said, 'Wait a minute. What did it say that Will and I are having? Are we having a boy or girl?' And she said, 'a girl, Sarah.'"

Later that day, the couple met with Sarah’s doctor.  

Will said, “It was a shock. So, that's all I remember that moment, like learning that information, learning what it was, and preparing ourselves mentally for what could lie ahead. It was just a blur and just a shock.”

The couple were already familiar with Edward’s Syndrome. Each had friends whose babies had the disorder. One died in the womb. The other had numerous challenges. 

Will said, “I think my biggest fear was that like, you know, we're going to be that family that has to live with this, uh, situation where we've got two healthy kids we're trying to raise, but this third child that's requiring every ounce of our time and energy just to keep, you know, keep them alive and what's that going to do to our other children.”

At the doctor’s advice, they scheduled Sarah for an amniocentesis to verify the diagnosis and help them make an informed decision about whether to terminate the pregnancy. While abortion wasn’t an option, the couple wasn’t sure they had the faith to turn it over to God and trust Him for the outcome. At home the next day, Sarah poured her heart out to God. 

“I’m just crying out to him saying, 'Lord, I need a word, Lord, as to what me and Will are supposed to do.'” Sarah said at that moment God spoke to her through the voice of her unborn daughter. “Mommy, tell them to leave me alone. I’m just fine.”

Later, when Will came home from work, he said, "She was so excited when I got home. It was the first thing she said to me that we're not doing the amniocentesis. And I just said, 'God told me the same thing. We're not. That's awesome.' And we just had so much peace after that.”

Sarah cancelled the appointment. They even gave their daughter a name - “Lively Reign.” But now they wouldn’t know whether the baby had the disorder until she was born, if she lived that long. For the next 33 weeks the couple and their family prayed as Sarah continued getting checkups and numerous ultrasounds. Finally, the day came. 

On July 24, 2018, “Lively Reign” was delivered by C section. In the words of Sarah’s obstetrician, the baby was “perfect.” There was no sign of Edward’s Syndrome.

“And it was such a great moment because I just knew that the Lord had told me this was going to be the outcome,” said Sarah.  

Will said, “They put her up on the table, cleaning her off, blocking my view, and then they're finally like, 'okay, come dad.' So, I go over and I just saw, I just saw this beautiful tiny little baby. And I saw 10 fingers, 10 toes. And I just looked back to Sarah, and I was like, 'She looks great. We’re good.'”

“God gave me a miracle. He saved Lively,” said Sarah.  

Lively Reign is five years old and healthy in every way through the power of prayer. 

Will said, “I’m grateful for the blessings that we've received from the Lord. And that's...I just live in that.” 

“And God shows up for you. And if I can tell any parent out there to let God have the final say, gather your information, lay it at His feet, and expect to hear Him,” encouraged Sarah. 

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