By Audrey Thng

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I WAS DEEPLY TOUCHED by the article "I chose to say "Yes!". It reminded me of my own journey of faith with my husband. Sometime in 1997, we were overjoyed to discover that I was pregnant. Our excitement turned into tears, however, at our first visit to the gynaecologist when we were informed, after the gynaecologist had done his scans, that no heartbeat had been detected, the foetus looked "fuzzy" and was not well formed. 

Above, in this family photo taken in 2005, Audrey Thng poses with husband Gerard Low, daughter Arielle, 8, and son Brandon, 5. Audrey says Arielle is truly a blessing from God.

The bottom-line was that I had a missed abortion. The nurse's words that this was probably a by-product of my stressful lifestyle as a lawyer, and that about 20 percent of pregnancies were miscarried; were cold comfort. The gynaecologist then proceeded to schedule a D&C* surgical procedure for me to remove the foetus from my womb in two days' time.

My husband and I were in a daze. We were going to proceed with the D&C as advised by the gynaecologist until my aunt referred me to another gynaecologist, Dr Winnie Wun, for a second opinion. Dr Wun advised us to postpone the D&C and scheduled another visit for us in a few weeks.

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During that time, our hearts were heavy with anxiety and fear. My husband was not a Catholic and not particularly interested in my faith. However, together we went for Novenas, prayed very hard and sought the intercession of Mother Mary and St. Gerard Majella. I remember, in particular, two days before our scheduled appointment with Dr Wun was Maunday Thursday. As I visited and prayed in the various churches, both the mood in the churches and in my heart were sombre. I felt as though I was in mourning.

We visited Dr Wun that Saturday. When she told us after the scan that she had detected a heart beat and my baby was alive, my husband and I had never been happier. Our prayers had been answered and Easter that year took on an increased significance to us. To me, our child, left for dead, had been brought to life by God.

Our baby girl was born perfectly healthy except for what looked like a little tail protruding from the base of her spine. When she was a few months old, she underwent what was supposed to be a relatively simple day surgery to remove the little tail.

Unfortunately, even after she had been discharged from hospital, the wound did not heal and continued to leak cerebral spinal fluid. It later transpired that she had a tethered spinal cord. The consequences of having such a condition included weakness in the legs, loss of bladder control and scarring of the kidneys. Our poor baby had to undergo several operations to correct her medical problem.

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Even after she was discharged months later, the prognosis for complete recovery to "normalcy" was poor. I had to help her empty her bladder with the use of a catheter several times a day (almost impossible with a screaming, restless baby), she was on daily medication and developed infections and had high fevers immediately after each course of antibiotics had ended. She also had to undergo a regular battery of checkups to monitor her condition.

All this was extremely traumatic for our baby and heartbreaking for us. However, we continued to pray and attended healing Masses at St. Michael's. Late one night, after a particularly long and stressful period of illness and as I cradled my poor child, sick with fever, I put her in God's hands and prayed for strength. At that moment, I finally felt at peace.

Shortly thereafter, our baby stopped developing infections and high fever. In fact, to the surprise of the urologist, she recovered completely. My husband and I were not surprised. We knew that our prayers had been answered once again. My husband has since been baptized and our daughter is now in Primary Three. She is truly a blessing from God.

*"D&C" is "dilatation and curettage". It used to be a common form of abortion. The procedure involves dilating the cervix and inserting instruments to clean out the lining of the uterus, which can include an embryo or foetus, while the woman is under an anaesthetic. A curettage is performed with a curette, a metal rod with a handle on one end and a sharp loop on the other.

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