"We were 'trying but not trying' until the pregnancy test read positive! We were about to finish building our first home and were thrilled to become parents. At just 12 weeks gestation, we learned our baby was a girl and that she tested positive for Trisomy 13. Trisomy 13 was fatal and happened completely by chance. We were 1 in 10,000.

We named our little girl Caroline Olivia and begged God for a false positive while we underwent more testing. It wasn't a false positive though. Caroline had Trisomy 13 in all her little cells, and we were given no hope. Trisomy 13 was 'incompatible with life.' We were told we would not make it to full term with Caroline or that she would die soon after birth. We were given several options, including termination.

We were deeply and profoundly devastated. We cried. We prayed. We did think about termination. When you are told that your baby is going to die, it is impossible not to think about every option. The next morning, we woke up and discussed our wishes with each other. We were so relieved to find out that we had both made the same decision - to give Caroline life until God decided to call her home.

We still didn't know how to go on the next six months, knowing our baby would die. We felt Caroline moving so much and couldn't understand why every sonogram brought more bad news. We weren't going to get to decorate a nursery or have a baby shower. All of our closest friends were pregnant with healthy babies, and it was hard not to get angry with God. In the beginning, we thought it would be easiest if Caroline passed on her own. She was a fighter though. We began to get excited to meet her, and even terrified that she would be born still. We also felt incredibly guilty for those prior emotions. Guilt can be more devastating than loss sometimes and we struggled.

Somewhere along the way, we started to experience a true intimacy with the Lord. We prayed like we've never prayed before. We worshipped like we've never worshipped before. We put our full trust in Him and felt Him guiding us. We clung to James 1:2-3 where it says to 'consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.' We came to realize that we wanted the purpose of Caroline's life to be to Glorify God. Yet, we still struggled through pain and confusion some days.

It was a battle, but it was one that we did not fight alone. God held our hands throughout each mountain and each dark valley. He armed us with the most loving and supportive family and friends. We learned what faith really means.

Then, May 4, 2017 arrived and Caroline gave us the easiest labor and delivery possible. The moment we laid our eyes on Caroline and held her in our arms, we knew it was all worth it. She was beautiful and perfect to us. She lived for 2 hours and 25 minutes and we loved on her every minute of her life. She made me a momma and made Matt the most loving father. She changed us and so many around us. She brought us closer to God, and He blessed us richly with our time with her.

We didn't know what it really meant to stand for life before Caroline. Now we know the time we had with Caroline was the greatest joy of our lives. Now we know the nine months before that were a precious gift despite all of its difficulties. Caroline's life was a blessing from God. All life is a blessing from God. So today, we say that we Stand For Life. We will always stand for life.



- Matt & Elaine #standforlife

Chandler Cooksey