Ignitum Today contributors, Andrew and Cristina Pocta are asking for our prayers. When they started writing for us last year they were engaged, a young American/Carribean couple living in Manhattan and working for the Archdiocese of New York. They met in Virginia Beach and discovered they both had worked as missionaries in Honduras serving the poor. They wrote on their blog, Cafe Con Leche, about their virtuous engagement and hopes and plans for their future together as husband and wife. Needless to say, they grabbed our hearts. Their love and vibrancy is inspiring. Their “I do” had great significance, as a marriage should have, and it was enough to bring tears to anyone’s eyes to see their faith, humility and loyalty united as one.
So when they told us a few months after the wedding that they found out they were pregnant, you can imagine the joy we all felt for them. They were blessed right away with a child, and of course that child captured our hearts too, especially when they post pictures like this of their baby smiling and “praising our Lord!” at 13 weeks.
Then a month later Andrew wrote to let us know they had been thrown a curveball. Maria Isabella had been diagnosed with Spina Bifida. At the ultrasound they saw a close-up of her face and a big smile lit up across the screen. However, in the final moments of the appointment they were delivered the news that their baby’s back wasn’t able to fully develop, and instead of closing up over the spinal cord, a little hole was left in place. Andrew explained his frustration with the medical team.
[box] From “your baby” to “the baby” and now to “the fetus…..”
“the fetus….has developed Spina Bifida and we need to go to my office to discuss your options” he told us as he awaited us in his even smaller office.
At this point, my adrenaline was pumping and therefore numbing my ears from allowing any of his medical terminology to enter and process in my brain. The words flew by my ears as he described the worst case scenario with this diagnosis and I entered into defense mode. My only concern at this point was the safety of my now sobbing wife and our little daughter safe within her womb, even with her now discovered “little problem”.
“The first option that most people choose when the fetus (again with this word that helps us sleep at night) has developed Spina Bifida, is to quickly end the pregnancy”.
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” I think to myself… “Did you not just see the joy on our faces in witnessing the smile of our little daughter less than…..5 minutes ago?!”[/box]
Andrew and Cristina, surely having faced much fear and anxiety, have never expressed anything but their unbreakable faith and assurance that Maria Isabella is a gift, and a little girl that already has a mission and already is showing others the beauty and joy of Jesus Christ. She’s their little girl and she is loved very much by her parents.
And she is loved by a growing number of people who are following this story and praying. What a shining story this is in a mad world of so much confusion and darkness.
A week ago Maria and Mom underwent pre-natal, in-utero surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to operate on Maria’s back. Both are doing well and recovering at the Ronald McDonald House founded by Jim Murray, a devout Catholic. The road ahead is going to be difficult. Andrew is still working in NYC and will be travelling back and forth. This family needs our prayers, love and support. Please join us! Thank you.
You can follow their story here at their blog, Cafe Con Leche.