On July 11, Rocio Pina and her husband Cesar suffered the heartbreaking loss of their preborn son Antonio at 14 weeks gestation. Their entire family, including sons John Paul and Moses, and daughters Sarah and Clara, had been thrilled to be welcoming another child. But when the doctor could not find a heartbeat at their first ultrasound, they were devastated. A follow-up ultrasound confirmed that Antonio had died. The couple had also lost two other sons during previous pregnancies.
“The doctor gave me two options: to have a D&C, or a dilation and curettage, or have the baby in my house,” she told Live Action News. “I think that the easy way out was to have a D&C. My husband and I decided to enter suffering to give our son a burial.”
A few days later, Pina delivered her baby boy at home — but when she called the doctor’s office for advice on what to do next, the nurse told her to “dispose of the baby.”
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” she wrote on Facebook. “Dispose of it as if it was nothing but trash, I was able to hold him, clean him, kiss him and mourn his loss.”
“When I first saw him I held him in my hands, cried, and said, ‘My baby’. My husband hugged me. I felt like a sword pierced my heart,” she explained.
She and her husband made an altar in their home with a cross, candle, and picture of Mary and the infant Jesus. They placed Antonio in a box and surrounded him with flower petals. That evening, the family gathered at church, and their priest offered Mass for Antonio. Pina said that many “incredible” moments occurred.
“As my husband carried the baby out of the church he was stopped by a young lady who looked somewhat distressed. She confessed to him that she had an abortion a while back and that Antonio reminded her of it,” she explained. “My husband then handed the metal box with the baby in it over to her as she cried mourning her baby.”
Mourning Antonio also allowed Pina’s mother to grieve the babies she lost to miscarriage, including one who had been tragically and accidentally flushed down the automatic toilet at the hospital. The guilt had followed her for years, but Antonio helped her to heal from that pain. Antonio’s short life also inspired others to action as well. A friend was inspired to find the grave of his brother whom he had lost years ago. And their priest felt a calling to create a cemetery for preborn children.
Seeing Antonio’s life purpose play out before her, Pina decided to share his life and his photos on Facebook in order to show as many people as possible the humanity of preborn children.
“We are sure that Antonio’s mission was to help others to see that we have a God-given dignity because we are made in His image,” she told Live Action News.
“I want to thank God for allowing me to hold my son in my hands, and for providing the means to bury him. Baby Antonio’s death was not in vain, and he has a greater mission, and that is why I’m sharing this experience with you!”
At 14 weeks gestation, preborn children are more flexible, and though Mom can’t feel it yet, her baby is getting more active. Babies at this age can squint, frown, grimace, and even suck their thumbs. Kidneys are producing urine, and the baby can grasp with his hands.
Tragically, nearly 56,000 preborn children are killed each year from 14 weeks gestation to full term, according to CDC data from 2014. Children at 14 weeks gestation are typically killed using a D&E abortion procedure, as described in this video by former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino:
No should be treated with such violence and lack of compassion. Every child deserves the opportunity to live. Antonio shows us that preborn children are human beings and every human being should be treated equally and with respect.