When most couples dream of having a baby, they imagine raising the child together. But imagine carrying a baby you know you may never raise yourself. One pregnant woman faced an unthinkable dilemma: Abort her unborn baby to save her life, or carry on with a pregnancy and face certain death. Elizabeth Joice chose to sacrifice her life to give her baby daughter a chance at life. She considered it a miracle at all that she'd gotten pregnant, and she was going to give this new life a fighting chance.
Four years ago Elizabeth had fought off cancer with four rounds of chemotherapy, followed by surgery, followed by more chemotherapy before her cancer finally went into remission. Her doctors told her she'd never get pregnant, but Elizabeth and her husband Max tried anyway -- and three years later she was expecting!
Their joy was cut short when Elizabeth learned only a month later that her tumor was back. Doctors removed the tumor, but because she was pregnant, they couldn't find out if it had spread and where. They delivered Elizabeth's baby Lily early via C-section in January. The cancer spread rapidly throughout Elizabeth's body, including her right lung and her heart.
Elizabeth spent just a few short weeks as a mother before her life was cruelly taken by cancer on March 9. She'd been able to spend only one day at home with Lily and Max. "We said our goodbyes. It was like something out of a movie. We sat there and cried. We tried to tell stories, talk about all the great things," Max says.
I try to imagine what I would feel if I'd been in Elizabeth's place -- if I'd had to choose between my pregnancy or fighting cancer again. She'd beaten it before, so would she have the confidence to know she could beat it again? Or would she dread going through chemotherapy all over again?
Maybe Elizabeth weighed her chances at beating cancer against her daughter's chances of living a full life and decided the odds were with her daughter. As a woman who grew up without a mother, she would know all too well what challenges Lily would face. She must have had tremendous faith and confidence in Max's potential as a father to leave her daughter entirely in his hands.
Max must have been heartbroken to say goodbye to Elizabeth. This story is so unbearably sad -- except for Max's amazing perspective. In a way, Elizabeth is still with him. Max says, "Liz’s magic rubbed off on Lily. She’s beautiful and remarkable. It provides me with the strength to get through this.”
Friends are raising funds to help Max and baby Lily.
Would you have made the same choice as Elizabeth did? What would your reasons be?
Image via Liz, Max & Lilybear/YouTube