A whisper of risk will bend the knees -as in the case of Brian and Emma Graham. Happily married they had purchased a Tudor style cottage on Sycamore Street in Hickory, North Carolina. On weekends they enjoyed driving their ragtop Jeep up to Blowing Rock and having picnic lunches with their retriever pups Bailey and Belle.
Brian was an aircraft mechanic at Indigo Air Transport, and Emma was an artist working at Noah’s Art Gallery located on the square. Both of them were enthusiastic about life and dreamed of starting a family.
On Christmas Eve of 1988 Emma handed Brian a small gift. Brian carefully opened the package and sat stunned while looking at a pair of baby booties. He looked to Emma with surprise, Emma smiled, Our baby is due in June.”
The day after Christmas Brian couldn’t contain his excitement; he showed up at the airport hangar with a box of cigars.
The following week Emma was taking down Christmas decorations at the gallery when the phone rang. Smiling she answered, in past weeks she had been extremely nauseas but was nearing her fourth month of pregnancy and feeling better.
After taking the call she turned a ghastly shade of white. The store owner insisted she go home and get some rest.
Brian came home that night to find Emma on the bed with Bailey and Belle sleeping beside her. With no dinner on the stove he knew something was wrong - Emma loved to cook. He approached Emma and knelt down. With bloodshot eyes she looked to Brian and told him they had an appointment with a genetics specialist. The doctor had phoned to tell her that her lab work was in and the results were indicative of the baby having Spina Bifida or Down’s syndrome. Brian was deeply concerned yet stoic and assured her it would all be okay.
The following Monday they drove to Winston-Salem to meet with the genetics specialist. Brian and Emma listened intently to the white coated expert as he urged them to get an amniocentesis for further diagnosis. That way they would still have ample time to safely abort a ‘less than perfect’ fetus. Emma was sickened by the nonchalant attitude of the doctor. He talked of terminating a pregnancy as though it was an easy decision to make – as though choosing which toppings to order on a pizza.
Brian drove home as Emma sat and stared at the pair of baby booties dangling from the rearview mirror. As they pulled in the driveway Emma said only five words, “I’m not going back there.”
Saturday morning Brian went on his routine run, his feet pounding the pavement with pent-up frustration. He couldn’t stand seeing Emma sad. Repeatedly the conversation with the doctor played over in his mind. All he could remember was one word ….risk. On the corner of First and Elm he suddenly stopped running - walked into St. Michael’s - collapsed in the back pew - and wept.
Neither Brian nor Emma had stepped inside St. Michael’s since the day they married. Married life was blissful and they had been swept away from their faith by a tide of contentment. Sleeping in on Sundays, reading the Sunday paper, and drinking gourmet coffee had become their new religion.
About twenty minutes passed before the double doors opened and light filled the church. Brian wiped his eyes and regained his composure. He felt a gentle hand touch his shoulder. He looked up to see Emma and smiled. Then together for the first time since they married, they knelt down and prayed.
That same night while driving home from a movie they passed a billboard. The message read, “If God takes you to it – God will take you through it.” Emma reached for Brian’s hand and squeezed it.
Days later, while working at the gallery Emma felt a flutter sensation in her stomach. It was first time she felt the baby move and it filled her heart with hope.
Each Sunday morning they attended St. Michael’s - no longer haunted by the whispers of risk.
On June 7th Emma gave birth to a perfect 8 lb 9oz baby girl. The baby appeared angelic with her light downy hair and rosy cheeks so they named her Faith.
---The above story was inspired by true events.
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