A mother of a special needs baby who was urged by her doctor to have an abortion, and then dismissed from the practice when she chose life, has channeled her energy into founding an organization that reaches out to other parents with special needs babies.
Hannah Sudlow, founder and executive director of Evelyn’s Treehouse, posted on Facebook Wednesday that news of states such as New York – that passed legislation allowing abortion up until the time of birth – “compelled” her to share her own story.
In an email interview with Breitbart News, she said she was “appalled by the New York legislation, because that would have applied to me.”
On Facebook, Sudlow wrote that when she discovered she was pregnant just after becoming engaged, she felt ashamed and discouraged. After she and her fiancé were married and 20 weeks into the pregnancy, she had an anatomy ultrasound and an amniocentesis, and then discovered her unborn daughter had been diagnosed with a genetic condition known as trisomy 18.
“The maternal fetal doctor informed me that she was incompatible with life,” Sudlow wrote. “She would not live. I was also told that my OB was already informed of this information and scheduled my abortion.”
How’s that for “my body my rules?” That wasn’t my choice. I had no say. I called the doctor’s office. The man was a doctor I had never met. He had no idea what I believed. After attempting to blurt words out between sobs & screams, he told me that I needed to “save my energy to take care of the child inside you.” The child he was trying to abort just hours before. They made me leave their practice. I went 5 weeks without a provider. No one would take me. There is a great tragedy at hand when it was a thousand times easier to organize an abortion for my child, than it was to find proper care to honor my pregnancy. Finally, I found a doctor’s office that was willing to monitor and care for Evelyn.
Sudlow said she “desperately needed God’s grace” at that time, and is now asking others to “stand for life.”
“The moment we stop defending the weakest & most vulnerable in our society will be a complete tragedy,” she wrote. “I will always share my story. I always stand in the gap. I will always choose life. By the way, Evelyn lived. She’s now two years old.”
Sudlow told Breitbart News that “the driving force for my pregnancy with Evelyn, despite how I may have felt on my own personal journey, was that God had each and every single one of Evelyn’s days numbered.”
“He knew her beginning and her end, and God was the one that put Evelyn’s heart in motion,” she added. “My conviction is that no one else has the authority to decide when someone’s heart stops, including the child inside of you.”
Sudlow said that, despite the fact that she knew Evelyn could die, she “always believed she would make it.”
“And she did,” she explained. “Evelyn does have Trisomy 18, most of the findings in that 20 week ultrasound are consistent with her health concerns today. She has a single ventricle heart, we are currently fixing her clubbed foot. But she is no less human than you or me. And she didn’t ask for this. It is my job to protect her and help make her voice heard.”
Despite the challenges, Sudlow said, “Evelyn has changed our lives from the inside out. She has given us hearts for hurting people, and opened our eyes to the special needs and medically complex community. Even if she only lived for a few hours, I would never regret carrying her.”
For Evelyn’s second birthday this past October, my husband and I started a non-profit called Evelyn’s Treehouse. Our mission is to come alongside new families in the hospital who have received a life-changing medical diagnosis for their child by offering support, gifts, and resources. Our goal is to empower and equip these parents in their new role to confidently live out being a caregiver to their medically complex child.
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Thanks to all of YOU, we have begun to purchase items and gather resources for our bags at @childrensnational. We placed an order for all of our caps from @lovedbaby & were in tears when we opened up our box the other day to see they surprised us & donated ALL of this in the picture our families as well. 😍😍 ✨ (That’s an extra 20 organic caps, 15 organic onesies, and two beautiful organic onesie and blanket sets for two special families) We have the BEST company partners! Thank you @lovedbaby! ✨ We love to help families CELEBRATE their newborns with these beautiful gifts. Part of our mission is to provide beautiful gifts to families of medically complex children that we can be behind 100%. In a way, our gift bag is a “mini baby shower” for these families. When a medical diagnosis is given, family and friends often don’t know what to do for families, and the child isn’t celebrated. We bridge that gap by offering gifts and resources to celebrate their little warrior and remind families of the miracle they just brought into the world. THANK YOU for helping us do just that ♥️✨🌳
“The day a family finds out their child will have a lifetime of medical concerns or special needs can be the worst day of their life,” says the organization’s website. It continues:
We have been there. There is a process of grief to go through when families receive a new diagnosis. Sadness and even denial are often felt in realizing that there is something different about your child. You mourn the child you thought you would once have, and learn to embrace their new extra-ordinary life.
Evelyn’s Treehouse partners with children’s hospitals and works with social work specialists to determine when families are ready to receive resources from the special needs organization.
“One of our team members will be in contact with each family after they receive one of our resource bags,” the website states. “Our team will offer more emotional support and assistance in transitioning to life at home, whenever that may be.”
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When a family first finds out that their child has medical complexities, the celebration often vanishes. Family and friends don’t know how to respond or what to say. ✨ Evelyn’s Treehouse is here to say, “Congratulations.” To remind you of that little miracle you just gave birth to, and that your child is also worth celebrating. ✨ So if you’re a new parent to a child with medical complexities, from the bottom of our hearts, Congratulations. We can’t wait to celebrate with you 🌳❤️✨
“Up to 85% of children with special needs that are discovered prenatally are aborted,” Sudlow told Breitbart News. “It’s tragic. We are working on a branch of our organization specifically for pregnant women with children of special needs as well. Our goal is for parents to see our story, see that we offer support, and to ultimately choose life.”