Samuel David at 9 months old with the 3 other children and his family
By Joanne of Arc (Quebec Life Coalition) - Photo: Catherina David
Catherina David is a stay at home mom of four kids who contacted us to share the beautiful testimony of her youngest child, Samuel David. She reached out to us at first for prayer and support on her pregnancy journey. Today, she wants to share with us, in detail, how her story unveiled. She discovered she was pregnant at almost 9 weeks into her pregnancy while she was moving from Quebec to Ontario.
She was very excited and happy about her new pregnancy initially. Her doctor asked her to do an additional test when she was 5 months pregnant, through which she learned that her baby had trisomy 21 (Down syndrome).
After having delivered three perfectly healthy children, it was certainly a big shock to her. She admits that she was devastated and didn't know how to react. She cried the whole day when she found out the news, and then the whole week after it.
When she met with her doctor after learning the news, he said to her “I leave it up to you whether you want to keep the baby, if you want to continue the pregnancy or if you want to terminate it we will make it as easy as possible for you, but you will have to go to the hospital and have a regular childbirth delivery”.
She went to the Jewish General hospital for the abortion, before she decided to change her mind and keep the baby. Catherina, was guided by her faith and a dream she believes was from God that helped her resist the temptation to end the life of her child.
Today, Catherina, Samuel & the rest of her family reside in Ontario. She doesn’t regret her decision to keep Samuel who adds much joy to the family. This is their testimony.
Joanne: Can you present yourself and your story briefly?
Catherina David: My name is Catherina David, and I am a stay at home mom of 4 kids. I had my child, Samuel David, my youngest, born on the 18th of Feb 2022. Samuel was born with Down syndrome and has been in and out of the hospital since the time he was born. He was born with 3 large holes in his heart and had to undergo a major heart repair.
When I discovered that I was pregnant with Samuel, I was initially very excited. We shared the news with our family and friends. My doctor recommended to me that I take some tests. The first test I took, everything seemed normal. Then the doctor asked me to do the harmony test. I didn’t think there would be anything to be worried about, because I had already delivered 3 healthy children. The doctor kept calling me for some reason and when he finally reached me, on September 4th 2021, he told me he had bad news for me. He announced to me that my baby had trisomy 21 or Down syndrome and invited me to discuss it at his office. It was a big shock for me and I did not know how to react. I was devastated just hearing the words “Down syndrome”. I cried the whole day, I could not pick myself up. Furthermore, I had to wait for a week before I had another appointment with the doctor, and that week was the most daunting week of my life. I did not have the courage to read anything about this on the internet, because all I knew in my mind was that down syndrome was something bad, and I would ask myself : Why me? Why my child?
Finally, when I went to the doctor, he had a serious discussion with us and said“ I leave it up to you whether you want to keep the baby, continue the pregnancy or if you want to terminate it we will make it as easy as possible, but the only way to do it, is to go to the hospital and do a regular childbirth”. Then he explained the downsides of the pregnancy should I proceed with it : heart defects, bowl defects, cognitive delays, brain development, hands and legs could be shorter, longer or uneven etc.
He concluded by saying, “Take your time, have a chat with your spouse and see what you want to do. If you ever decide to terminate, then you can fix an appointment and I will talk to the hospital to have it done”.
Joanne: Thank you for presenting yourself and your story. You have also shared with me that before deciding to keep your child, you had initially decided to abort the baby and went to the hospital for it. Can you confirm with me where had you gone for the abortion procedure?
Catherina David: My obstetrician was attached to the Jewish General Hospital and that’s where I had gone for the procedure.
Joanne: I see. But then you decided to keep Samuel. Can you describe to me what went through your mind when you changed your decision?
Catherina David: Before I went to the hospital for the termination procedure, I had a dream that I was fully pregnant, almost at full term, and I was at the hospital with my mother and sister. The hospital had steps which led down to a big river in my country (India). I was walking towards those steps, about 1000 steps, and then I saw a large amount of water gushing. There was also a bridge that led between the hospital and those steps, and I was contemplating whether I should go into the river. Suddenly, I heard a man shouting to me: “What are you doing there?! You shouldn’t be standing there!! Come back to the hospital. The force of the water is too much, it will wash you down. In this condition, you should not be going there. Please come back, please come back!”. It was a cry of helplessness. He was just shouting and saying that I shouldn’t be there. Then he told my mother and my sister, “Why did you allow her to go ? Ask her to come back.” I interpreted this dream as the Lord’s voice who was asking me to come back. The image of the river I had in my mind was particular, there was also a dense forest. After this dream, the next day, I went to the Jewish General hospital for the procedure, and you will not believe me, but the same picture with a river and a dense forest was put up in the room I was staying in for that entire day. I left the hospital and decided to keep the baby after spending a day there.
Samuel David at the hospital - Photo : Catherina David
Joanne: Can you describe to me how you left. Did you notify someone or simply leave the hospital in a hurry?
Catherina David: I asked to speak with a doctor and they sent me the duty doctor for the day. She was in late her fifties and she assured me that if I was not convinced to go back home and make an informed decision. She said “after all it’s your baby and you must decide.”
Joanne: How many weeks were you when you went for the abortion?
Catherina David: I was 22 weeks.
Joanne: When were the tests done?
Catherina David: At week 13th and 18th the tests were done, so there was not much time. It was at the 20th week that we came to discover that Samuel would have trisomy 21.
Joanne: What was the doctor’s reaction when you told him you would keep the child?
Catherina David: The doctor told me that if I choose to give life to my son, they will support him, and he has done everything so far to keep this promise.
Joanne: At any point during your pregnancy, did you feel pressured to make a choice for abortion from the doctor? What about friends?
Catherina David: Absolutely no pressure from my doctor or the hospital, all they told us was if choose life for our baby they will do everything to support life. At this point, we had just one friend who knew our situation, and they were supportive.
Joanne: But didn’t you feel that it was a bit much for your initial doctor to immediately mention the possibility of termination of your pregnancy based on the condition of your child? After all, it is human life we are talking about…
Catherina David: It did feel very hard, the possibility of them even mentioning it was baffling, because I could not go through it as a parent, and I did not want to go through it. It was a lot for me emotionally, going to the hospital at 5 months and doing a natural labor process.(...) I was told that “every day I keep the fetus, I will face more difficulties, because I will experience more trauma for myself and the child.” On one hand, yes they said they would do everything to help me, but on the other hand…I think that because the system is the public health system, it is a big burden on them(...) In our country where I come from (India) they don't offer these options.
I have to say that they prepared us for the worst, but not for the best. They gave us the worst possible scenario, but I could not do it (abortion).
Joanne: At which week were you given the “option” to abort your child by your doctor?
Catherina David: At week 20th and at week 26th.
Joanne: That’s two separate times. So on two separate occasions, your doctor mentioned it again?
Catherina David: Yes, because at week 26 I was told about a heart condition.
Samuel David and his family — Photo : Catherina David
Joanne: Can you tell me, what does your life look like today? (On a day-to-day basis)
Catherina David: Today Samuel is 8 months and counting, he is a beautiful gift to us, and we love having him with us. Samuel spent the first 4 months of life at the hospital between blood work and surgery. He is still recovering, and the road ahead is rather a long one for him, but nevertheless we will continue to keep the faith for him as parents.
Joanne: Do you ever regret your decision?
Catherina David: Absolutely not.
Joanne: How did your family/friends react to the news?
Catherina David: Most of our friends were very concerned for us and our 3 kids since we had no help, and it was a devastating period that we were going through it was draining us mentally and emotionally. Our friends did all they could to help us through by sending food, taking turns to give the kids play dates and even help us with trips to the hospital. For our families they supported us through prayer constantly, since they were 10,000 miles + away, all they could offer us were words of solace and assure us constantly of their prayers.
Joanne: What would you like to sensibilize the readers of this article to?
Catherina David: Through the nine months of carrying Samuel in my womb I realized that even in the darkest moment of my life that God did not need me, but I needed God in my life. He was, is, and will always be present in my life no matter what my situation or circumstances are.
Joanne: What inspired you to share your testimony with us?
Catherina David: The very fact that I have a son without any disabilities and heart repair that could be managed by the doctors itself is a testimony worth sharing. We were given to understand at week 20 that Samuel’s right ventricle was a tiny speck and if it didn’t grow then Samuel would have 9 heart surgeries in the first year of life alone. The-head of cardiac team told us only one thing : if you choose life for the baby we will do everything to support it and the hospital and doctors did that.
Joanne: What is the most important message behind your testimony in your eyes?
Catherina David: 2 Samuel 7 : “Then King David went in and sat in the LORD’s presence and said, “Who am I, Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you should have brought me so far? And yet even this is too little in your sight, Lord GOD!” The Lord will take up your battles, and he will make a way where there’s seems to be no way.
Joanne: What would you like to say to expecting mothers who may find out that their child has a condition like yours?
Catherina David: Be cheerful, rejoice in the Lord he will walk you through the turbulent waters and the roaring skies. He is the giver of life and he will take care of you and your baby now and forever.
The David family - Photo : Catherina David
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