Waite Park family chooses life despite obstacles

Categories: Around the Diocese,Papal visit

9A wedding

Lucia Torres Ramirez and Victor Torres Limon pose for photos after their wedding ceremony at St. Joseph Church in Waite Park Aug. 22. Photo for The Visitor by Edith Hernandez-Fussy

By Kristi Anderson
The Visitor

On May 12, Lucia Torres Ramirez and Victor Torres Limon, who are expecting their fifth child in September, headed to their local clinic for their first ultrasound. They were happy to learn that their four children, Christopher, 11, Madeline, 8, Kailynn, 5, and Hellen, 2, would soon welcome a new brother.

“Sometimes I couldn’t believe [that] God had sent me another baby,” Ramirez, who speaks Spanish, said through a translator. “At that moment, my happiness was so big, I gave thanks to God for the blessing. I began to love my little one with all my heart. I began to love him the same way I love my other children.”

Four days later, Ramirez received a phone call from the clinic asking her to return for another ultrasound.
“I started to feel anxious and I began to cry out of fear. At that moment, for simply not knowing what was happening, I was scared. I told my husband that I needed to have another ultrasound and he comforted me, saying not to worry,” she said.

Ramirez went to the appointment and after a two-hour ultrasound, the nurse confirmed her worst fears.
“She told us that the baby had some cysts in his brain,” Ramirez said. “The nurse said that the doctor would come to explain in detail what was occurring. She told me she needed to draw a blood sample to see if it was Trisomy 18.”

Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome, is a condition caused by an error in cell division. According to the Trisomy 18 Foundation’s website, it disrupts the normal pattern of development in significant ways that can be life-threatening, even before birth.

A Trisomy 18 error occurs in about one out of every 2,500 pregnancies in the United States. Significant numbers of stillbirths occur in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

Infants who survive typically require home nursing support to assist the parents. Many of these children do not live beyond their first birthdays, according to the Trisomy 18 Foundation; however, there are children with the condition who can enjoy many years of life with their families, it said.

Fighting for life

“I couldn’t understand what that disease was,” Ramirez said. “I had to keep asking [questions] in order to comprehend. The nurse said that babies who have deformities of the heart and have cysts in the brain is [likely to be] Trisomy 18. The baby has a very slim chance of living or not finishing the pregnancy. I felt huge pain with that news.”

Devastated, Ramirez returned home to await the final test results.

“I felt angry with myself,” she said. “I became furious with God for what he was doing to me. At that same moment, I was asking him for strength to go forth.”

When the test results came back positive for Trisomy 18, Ramirez and her husband returned to meet with the doctor.

“It was a slap to the face what the clinic proposed. They asked if I wanted to abort my child,” she said. “I answered no. I was going to fight with my son because my son lives. It’s God’s will and I give my child to the Lord, along with my heart.”

Now 35 weeks into her pregnancy, the family anxiously awaits the gift of their son.

“Thanks to God and people’s prayers, we continue the battle,” Ramirez said. “I enjoy every kick that he gives me in my womb, which to me are little lights of hope. I have dreams where he is so beautiful. I smile at him, I kiss him, I hug him with all my love. Happy and anxious I await the day of his arrival. I will always carry him in my heart and mind.”

Feeling supported

Ramirez and her family are grateful for the support of their pastor, Father Oswaldo Roche, and their entire parish community at St. Joseph in Waite Park.

“God always wants us to choose life,” Father Roche said. “We are their family now, and we pray for them, for this couple, this child. When things like this happen, we grow in our faith. God will bless this family for making the decision to choose life.”

As their faith deepened, Ramirez and Torres also made another decision — to prepare for and receive the sacrament of marriage. The couple wed Aug. 22 at St. Joseph Parish.

“We decided to get married because of the love we have for each other; we know that this is a covenant with God,” Ramirez said. “We wanted our children to see our union blessed and give them an example of what a holy matrimony is. We also wanted to await the arrival of [this] child knowing we had God’s blessing. And, we wanted to experience the most beautiful of experiences, which is to receive Christ in the Eucharist.”

The community has rallied around the family, and they intend to ensure that support continues once the baby is born. This year, their three school-age children will attend All Saints Academy in St. Joseph where they, too, can grow in their Catholic faith.

Ramirez believes this is all part of a divine plan. “This experience has strengthened my Catholic faith,” she said. “It has brought me closer to God because I know God has the last word and God has a purpose for us through this experience.”