We would never have dreamed of shortening the life of Steven (Acts 7) just because we knew ahead of time that his lifespan would be only 3% of Methuselah's (Genesis 5). And yet that is exactly the counsel which many of today's parents are receiving through misguided counsellors armed with uncertain test results.
Last week, we heard the travesty of a perfectly healthy twin who was accidentally killed in an attempt to purposely kill his sibling who seemed to be destined to live a shorter life already.
While there is nothing that we can do to lengthen either our own lifespan or that of others, there is plenty that we can do to receive what time God gives for the gift that it is. Perinatal Hospice and Palliative Care is just such an opportunity to rejoice in God's gift of time. Their mission statement is:
As prenatal testing becomes increasingly routine, more parents are learning devastating news before their babies are born. In too many places, the ability to diagnose has raced ahead of the ability to care for these families and their babies. But in a beautiful and practical response, more than 100 pioneering hospitals and hospices in the U.S. and other countries have started providing perinatal hospice/palliative care for families who wish to continue their pregnancies with babies who likely will die before or shortly after birth.
A perinatal hospice approach walks with these families on their journey through pregnancy, birth and death, honoring the baby as well as the baby's family. Perinatal hospice is not a place; it is more a frame of mind. Even in areas without a formal program, parents can create a loving experience for themselves and their baby, and health professionals and family and friends can offer support in the spirit of hospiceThere are two nearby programs that we can support in concrete and active ways.
Angel Watch, Intermountain Health Care. Contact: Carolyn Kasteler RN, (801) 698-4486. Salt Lake City, Utah
Let's give some thought to how we might help others to receive and rejoice in God's gifts.
Rainbow Kids Palliative Care Program, Primary Children's Medical Center/University of Utah. Contact: Nurse coordinator Beth Nordfors RN, (801) 662-3770. Salt Lake City, Utah