Rising MODG senior and incoming NHS president Emily Bachman recently spoke at the 2019 Bringing America Back to Life conference. One of only three students in the conference's history given this opportunity, Emily told the story of her nephew Mikey, born with Down Syndrome. You can view the video here, and the text of her speech is included below:
Hello, my name is Emily Bachman, and I am a high school junior at Mother of Divine Grace Catholic School. I am excited to be a part of this Pro-life National Convention which defends all life, from the moment of conception until natural death. Today, I invite you to listen to an inspiring story about my older sister, Melissa, and her son, Mikey. This encouraging witness, which I am about to share with you, is mixed with many trials, hardships, and tears. However, as you will soon see, this story proves that whatever you may be going through, though it may seem as if there is no hope at all, there is always a beacon of light - the light of Christ, who lights the way for us all. This story is filled with a beautiful example of how God was truly able to transform my sister’s life once she finally surrendered her biggest fear into God’s hands, thus saving her unborn child’s life.
Six years ago, my sister Melissa received the exciting news from her doctor that she was pregnant. At the time, she and her husband Jerome were raising their two other children, Abigail and Enzo, who were ages eight and six. For two years, Abigail and Enzo had been praying for another brother or sister, so when Melissa and Jerome had at last spread the word to their children that they were going to have another baby, Abigail and Enzo were overjoyed! Their prayers had been answered!
At first, Melissa’s pregnancy was going well. All of her friends were happy to hear that she would be expecting her third child, and her relatives were thrilled to be welcoming another baby into the family. However, this time of excitement did not last. After Melissa had her first pregnancy screening test, the results came back problematic. My sister’s heart sunk. Melissa was afraid that this issue would eventually lead to something worse. Her family members tried to console her, but deep down in Melissa’s heart, she knew something was not quite right.
After the initial screening revealed a problem, my sister then had an amniocentesis. This test confirmed that her child did, in fact, have a genetic disorder known as Down Syndrome. Having found out that their child would be born with many birth defects, my sister and her husband were devastated. Dreadful thoughts raced through their minds: what would their child be like? Would he be born deformed, different from Abigail and Enzo? Would he be unintelligent, unable to talk or socialize like other ordinary children his age? Would he learn to walk, play, or be potty-trained? Could he ever live a normal life? These are the questions that consumed their minds when the doctor confirmed the diagnosis.
Sometime later, Melissa went to have her very first ultrasound, which revealed even more complications. The little child, developing in her womb, had large cysts all over his neck, and he was missing a nose bone. On top of it all, the ultrasound showed that he had a heart condition, and he would need to have heart surgery. This was all too much for Melissa and Jerome. The situation seemed to continue to worsen, spiraling out of their control. To top it all off, doctors continued to pressure Melissa to abort her child, but Missy held onto her faith even though she was afraid. She prayed the rosary daily, and Our Lady helped her get through it.
In the same year, on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Melissa witnessed a life-changing moment. On that day, she and some of her family were visiting a local shrine to pray about her situation. When Melissa made her way over to the shrine’s prayer booklet to write down her special intention, she caught sight of something astonishing. The handwritten prayer request inscribed in the booklet was from a young woman pleading for forgiveness from God. The woman stated that she, as well as both her mother and sister, all had abortions. All three of these women were in anguish and they felt that God could not forgive them nor could they forgive themselves. This astounding moment was a turning point in my sister’s life, and from then on she had changed. This is when I began to really see Melissa grow in a deeper relationship with God. She began praying more with her family, and because of this, her faith and trust in God was strengthened.
Before my sister went in to have her second ultrasound, she visited a friend of the family who prayed with her and told her that Jesus wanted to heal her baby, but first, my sister needed to surrender her fears and trust God. When she had a follow-up ultrasound, it showed that all the physical defects that were on the first ultrasound had disappeared! Not surprisingly, the only thing that could be seen was little Mikey’s hands folded in a prayer-like position. His cysts were gone, his nose had now formed, and his heart was perfect. The doctor, who had told my sister that she should have an abortion, was stunned. He stormed out of the room, speechless. We all knew in our hearts that God wanted this baby to survive and no defect or scare-tactics from doctors could stop God’s ultimate plan.
At the final ultrasound, something incredible happened! As the image of her infant was being displayed on the small television screen, all of us watched, amazed at what we had seen. Melissa’s little boy was waving at us, and then he gave us all a big thumbs up. It was almost as if he was saying, hi, I am here! Everything will be okay! The signs that he used to communicate to us proved that he was, in fact, okay.
Today, Mikey is now five years old. Though Mikey was born with Down Syndrome, he brings so much joy to us all and he continues to amaze us with his great accomplishments. Mikey loves to read, play games with his siblings, take selfies with his mommy, and loves to spend time with his father. Mikey has taught us all what it truly means to love and be loved, and for these reasons, I feel blessed to be called Mikey’s aunt and god-mother. As my sister often says, “Every family needs a down’s child.”
At this time, we will be passing around a basket filled with the precious feet pins. Please feel free to take a pin, and if you are able to, give a donation. Whenever you wear your pin, think of Mikey’s story and how saving just one more child’s life can make a huge difference in this world. Thank you and God Bless you all!