Samuel Wilson was born with a rare birth defect called congenital diaphragmatic hernia, which is condition that causes the stomach and intestines to develop in the child’s chest cavity because of a hole in the diaphragm.
Samuel’s mother, Vicky Davies, said that it was at her 20 week scan that she found out that her son only had a 50/50 chance of survival. Davies said, “We were taken to a room and told that Samuel’s stomach organs were in his chest and that there was a possibility of Down syndrome, so I was advised to have an amniocentesis test.”
Davies and her partner, Gavin Wilson, were told that they should look at the option of abortion due to their baby’s low survival rate. When the abdominal organs are in the chest cavity, the lungs are not able to fully develop and the abdominal organs can push on the heart and prevent it from growing normally. Yet in spite of this, Davies said, “I just couldn’t even imagine it [abortion]…I knew I had to just give him a chance at survival.”
Samuel was due in June, but he arrived five weeks early on May 23rd at Liverpool Women’s Hospital. Immediately after he was born, he was put into an incubator and the couple was told that he might not make it through the weekend. Davies said, “On day six we got a call from the hospital at 1am with the doctors saying that they could do no more for him.” But Samuel proved to be a little fighter and endured an operation on June 10th to move his stomach and intestines down.
After the operation, Davies was able to hold her son and introduced Samuel to her other children. Davies said that her kids were a little apprehensive about holding Samuel because he looked so tiny, but her oldest daughter Alisa held him a few times when they came to visit at the hospital. Now, Samuel is doing well and is even feeding from a bottle.
Davies said she hopes to raise awareness about her son’s condition to show other families that it is not all negative and that children can survive birth defects. Unfortunately, our society clings to the ideology that it would be more humane to allow a disabled child to die from abortion, than to suffer through hardship after their birth.
However, this idea isn’t humane at all because abortion is not a pain-free procedure. At 20 weeks, preborn babies can feel pain, but more importantly, these children are one of us and deserve dignity and respect. Just like Samuel, children who face challenging physical conditions can overcome their diagnosis and have happy lives. We cannot allow society to place a person’s value on their prenatal diagnosis, rather than on their membership in the human family.