Meghan Grace Conway was born July 20 and went to heaven July 22. This is a story of love and courage that will encourage others to follow a similar compassionate and loving path if confronted with the same situation.
Last summer Rebecca and John Conway were expecting their third child, their first baby girl. Half-way through the pregnancy, an ultrasound exam told them that the little girl had a very serious heart condition; it was an atrioventricular septal defect. This is a rare and extremely grave situation. She did not have the normal four-chamber heart. There were more ultrasounds and then amniocentesis, which confirmed that she had a rare, genetic condition called Trisomy 13. Instead of having two, she had a third 13th chromosome. This condition is not compatible with life outside of the womb. Approximately one-third of these babies die in utero, and the others almost immediately after birth. Not surprisingly, the Conways were subjected to heavy pressure by various medical personnel to kill their baby in a late-term abortion. For them, however, abortion was not an option and they elected to carry to term.
Meghan was born by C-section weighing almost six pounds and in the words of her parents, “Our little miracle lived forty-four hours, which was a true blessing to us as we were able to spend the most wonderful quality time that any family could spend with their child.” According to her aunt, Laurie Mann, “Meghan Grace was a beautiful little girl. She was so precious and had the cry of a little kitten. She was never put down, except to be changed. She was held by her parents, her brothers, all seven of her aunts, her grandparents, great-grandmother, uncles and close friends. She was photographed more than any infant I know. I cannot explain it, but in the midst of the painful reality that her hours were so limited, she brought the gift of joy and peace. I know that God had His plan for intrusting Meghan to John and Rebecca.” Her father was a city councilman and therefore there was much publicity about her birth. Also, the nurses and doctors at the hospital were very touched by this sweet little child.
In a short letter distributed at her funeral, her parents stated, “It is difficult for us to put into words the joy and sorrow we experienced during our time together with her as a family. We had been on an incredible journey as we prepared to bring her into this world. Please trust us when we tell you that she was always at peace and she was always surrounded by love. Knowing only love, Meghan Grace entered into God’s hands and went to heaven after being in our arms for forty-four hours.” They went on to say, “The memories that we experienced over the last three days will never be forgotten. We have often been reminded that every life, no matter how short, forever changes the world.”
Rebecca and John Conway wanted to share this picture of their daughter, as well as the details surrounding her birth and brief life. They would be happy to communicate with other families going through a similar situation. They can be contacted at 216.732.8241 or by email.
What could have been a totally tragic memory, a profound negative in their lives, was turned into a very warm and beautiful event. This is true both for the parents, but certainly also for her two siblings and all of those who surrounded her.
In comparison, we grieve for those parents who, often pressured by doctors and nurses, succumbed and had their baby aborted. Contrast the Conway family’s memories with those of only being able to say, “We killed our baby.”