A mother from Italy is sharing her story of faith and hope in the face of a high-risk pregnancy in which both her life and her baby girl’s life were on the line. Though doctors offered her an abortion, she refused, and now her little girl is home with her family after months in the hospital.
“I was proposed therapeutic abortion,” Jessica told Avvenire.it, “[…] but I immediately refused.” She added, “I would have accepted her with any problem.”
At 23 weeks, Jessica had to undergo an emergency C-section due to a placental abruption. Baby Nicol Vittoria was born on May 8, weighing just one pound and measuring about 11 inches. She had to be resuscitated and was given a nasal cannulae to help her breathe, but she eventually had to be intubated and placed on a ventilator for two months. Nicol also had an issue with her heart common to premature babies, staphylococcal sepsis, and retinopathy. She overcame all obstacles.
“Strength was given to me by prayer,” said Jessica, “together with the always comforting words of doctors and nurses, in particular the reassuring smiles of Dr. Viviana Cardilli who treated Nicol.”
Jessica was only able to spend four hours a day with Nicol to hold her hand and talk to her about her siblings, father, and grandmother waiting for her at home. COVID-19 precautions kept their time together short and prevented other family members like her siblings from visiting. Prayer helped Jessica “to wipe out bad thoughts from the mind.” After a month, she was finally able to hold Nicol.
“The first time they put Nicol in my arms after a month, she weighed 700 grams [480 grams at birth], it was as if I had given birth for a second time,” she said.
Despite being given less than a 30% chance of survival, Nicol reached five and a half pounds and was finally able to go home to meet her siblings Alessandro and Sofia, aged six and four, after four months in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Abortion in Italy is legal through the first 90 days of pregnancy for any reason, but after 90 days, “therapeutic” abortion is allowed if a baby receives a serious diagnosis or if the mother’s life or health are considered to be at risk. The nation recently changed its abortion pill law to allow it to be used up to nine weeks instead of the previous seven.
Aborting a child because of a diagnosis is an act of eugenics, not compassion. And thousands of doctors have attested to the fact that abortion is never necessary to save the life or health of the mother because it is safer and faster to deliver the child alive to try to save both mother and child. Thankfully, at this time, most doctors in Italy refuse to commit abortions.
“I knew from the start that she would make it,” said Jessica. “Because in recent months she has always done the opposite of what the medical statistics said. That’s why I wanted to call her Nicol Vittoria.” Nicol means “victory of the people” and Vittoria also means “victory.”
“Luckily,” said Jessica, “she immediately proved to be a great warrior and a big eater.”
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