In 2012, UK parents Katyia Rowe and Shane Johnson were devastated with the news that their unborn son Lucian’s brain was not developing normally and that he would be seriously disabled.
“We were devastated to be told our son’s brain abnormalities were so severe they were life limiting and we should consider a termination,” the couple told the Daily Mail.
Katyia was encouraged to end the pregnancy and advised that she could have an abortion up to 24 weeks. However, more ultrasounds were given to determine the extent of Lucian’s disability, and what the baby’s mum and dad saw on those scans set their minds firmly against aborting Lucian.
Rowe explains: “Further scans were arranged to assess the extent of his disabilities but when I saw him smiling and playing inside me I knew I couldn’t end his life.”
She went on to say that “Despite all the awful things I was being told, while he was inside me his quality of life looked to be wonderful and no different to any other baby’s, he was a joy to watch.
“I was told he would never walk or talk yet the scans showed him constantly wriggling and moving.”
“As I watched I knew that while I was carrying him he still had a quality of life and it was my duty as a mother to protect that no matter how long he had left, he deserved to live.”
The couple continued the pregnancy, and Lucian was born on October 23, 2012 weighing 6 lb 10 oz.. He was immediately whisked away for testing and treatment, but after working on him for a few hours, doctors told his parents that Lucian would probably not survive the day. Rowe and Johnson cherished every minute that they were able to hold their son in their arms.
Katyia had these very moving words to say about meeting her son outside the womb:
“…we had already decided that after his birth we would let Lucian lead the way. I didn’t want him given any unnecessary treatment if ultimately it wouldn’t help him. He had already given me the greatest honour of being his mummy for the last nine months. It was up to him now if he was ready to go.”
She says of the time she and Shane spend cuddling their son: “It was without doubt the happiest moment of my life. Lucian could have died at anytime in my womb but he held on long enough for us to meet properly.”
After about 9 hours together as a family of 3, Lucian passed away peacefully in his parents’ arms.
His mum says, “The peace, contentment and amount of pure love that engulfed the 3 of us in that room will keep us moving forward for the rest of our lives,” Shane said. “We’re so thankful to have had that time with Lucian for those few hours and words can’t describe just how proud we are to be the parents of such a beautiful, strong willed little boy who through our tears, stories and memories will live on in our hearts forever!”
Katyia and Shane chose life for their son even though they knew they wouldn’t be with him long—and they are SO glad they did. To learn more about Lucian’s short and precious life, check out the website they have set up to remember their son.