The mother of a baby who died tragically just 10 hours after birth due to a fetal abnormality recently shared her story of why she chose life.

It was through the grace of God and her faith that the Schoonover family spent weeks with the knowledge that their daughter may not live long after being born. The couple was able to spend 10 hours with their baby girl in their arms, and despite the pain they faced, were glad they kept going with the difficult and heartbreaking pregnancy.

Stephanie and Andy Schoonover learned in the first trimester that their daughter Grace was at risk of anencephaly, a condition where a baby is born without parts of her skull. 

Stephanie shared what passed through her mind when she first heard the news. 

“In a single moment my whole world came crashing in and an emptiness carved itself into every hollow of my body. I couldn’t begin to comprehend the news that our baby’s life was going to be taken from ours. How could this have happened? Are you positive? Is there anything we can do?” she shared.  

She and her husband made the decision, despite the pain they knew that would follow, to “love Grace with abandon.”

She wrote that the difficult pregnancy taught her to be “profoundly present and [learn] how to truly cherish each moment as the gift that it is.”

Stephanie and her husband decided to embrace the sufferings this pregnancy gave them.

She wrote:

We felt sincere gratitude for each day we were given to experience her. I began carefully making important decisions for labor, delivery, and the moments following her birth. The monogrammed blanket I would wrap her in, the special scent we would bathe her with, the soft nightgown she would wear, what books we would read, the keepsakes we would make, the photographs we would have taken, and how we were going to honor her body with dignity.

She went on to say: “Our imperfect life was full of perfect moments and we treasured our days together.”

“We are heartbroken and miss her terribly but we’re joyful for answered prayers and cling to the promise that we’ll be together again,” the couple wrote in a message at the end of their story. “We give all glory and thanks to our Heavenly Father for the gift of her life that made us her earthly parents, for she will always be our firstborn daughter and so deeply loved.”

We are so grateful for this family for sharing this story on social media. Let’s pray that other people draw strength from their story – one that reflects the beauty and dignity of every single child in the womb. Stephanie went on to found Carrying to Term, an organization that helps other parents going through a difficult prenatal diagnosis.

Every single child that’s created from the moment of conception is precious, unique, and deserving of love and protection. Each child is a soul, known by God before they are even in the womb.