A television news anchor and her husband have rejected abortion for their unborn daughter after discovering the baby has a fatal brain disorder.
“God has a plan for Emma,” said WISH-TV News 8’s Brooke Martin about her daughter, who has been diagnosed with anencephaly, a rare and often fatal brain disorder that occurs in only three of every 10,000 births, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In an interview with Indianapolis-based WISH-TV News 8, Brooke said when she developed a case of bronchitis that persisted, she went to see her doctor.
“And the doctors made a rare discovery,” Brooke said. “Our baby was diagnosed with anencephaly, a rare condition in which the baby’s skull does not develop.”
“We found out it’s a girl, but she has zero chance of survival,” Brooke said. “We decided to carry her long term or as long as she survives.”
Brooke and Cole have a two-year-old son, Max.
“I’m just so proud of my wife, just the way she’s handled this news, carried it every day since then,” Cole said.
The couple explained their faith is helping them through their suffering.
“We have named her,” Brooke said. “Her name is Emma Noelle. Together, it sounds like Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.'”
“We are so sad,” she added. “But on the other hand, we are so confident that God has a plan for Emma, that he is going to redeem her story.”
The news anchor said that, currently, she and unborn Emma, who has an April due date, are both healthy physically.
Emotionally, it depends on the day that you ask me. Really, it depends on the minute. It’s hard; it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever been through, but what I can tell you honestly – the overwhelming peace I have felt throughout this entire journey so far, and it’s just begun – has been unbelievable. We have felt such a comfort and peace, and I know that a lot of that is from an outpouring of support we have received from everyone. You never know until you get news like this how you’ll receive it, and we can just say that the Lord has been faithful, and we have been incredibly at peace.
Brooke said babies with anencephaly typically go full-term. She said she has seen Emma kick and stretch during the ultrasounds, and notes that her heartbeat is strong.
“Most likely she’ll go full-term and at that point, there are a few different outcomes,” she explained. “She could pass during delivery, which is likely, or she could survive a few hours or even a few days. But we won’t even know a delivery date until much further down the road as she continues to grow and we monitor her progress.”
Brooke said she wanted to share her family’s story with their television viewers.
“You know, even when she’s inside, we trust that she can feel our love and know how much her mom and dad love her,” she continued. “And we know that we’ll be able to spend eternity with her someday. And that’s our confidence, and that’s our hope.”
“This is just life, and life hurts sometimes,” Brooke added. “So please follow along this journey with us. Love on Emma as we will. And we will get through it together.”