A North Carolina couple is clinging to their faith after losing a set of septuplets and say that they would do nothing differently and not choose selective reduction in order to "save" the pregnancy.
Lindsey and Steve Justice are the parents of 4-year-old Hannah and Hope, 2, but knew they wanted more children. After trying for several months, the couple turned to fertility treatments and even considered adoption, but nothing worked. However, they were happily surprised to learn that Lindsey was indeed expecting, and at six weeks gestation, they learned that there could be a complication: Lindsey was not carrying just one baby … her doctor estimated she could be carrying as many as six.
"He just said, 'this is dangerous. The human body is not meant to carry six-plus babies, and for your health and for the babies—their chances of survival, your best medical option is to selectively reduce.' Steven and I didn't even have to look at each other," Lindsey told NBC. "That was just not going to be an option."
Two weeks later the couple learned that there were actually seven babies, but that did not deter them or change their minds about selective reduction.
"We knew at that point, reaffirmed, that this was from God. It's not in our hands. It was a miracle, just a miracle," Lindsey explained. We were humbled to be counted worthy, although we're very unworthy to carry such a responsibility."
The ecstatic couple wanted to document every moment of the pregnancy and took home videos nearly every day. They knew that there was a goal of 23 weeks gestation in order to give the babies a fighting chance. Every week was a celebration, and Lindsey and Steve chose very specific names for the babies growing in utero: each baby would be named with a letter to eventually complete the name Messiah.
Unfortunately, things did not go as planned, and the couple lost one child at 12 weeks. Four weeks later, the couple found out that they would have to come up with a new naming system because all seven babies were girls.
At 21 weeks, just two weeks shy of the goal date, Lindsey's water broke and she went into labor.
"I started to feel some contractions and I wanted to not believe that," she said. But she delivered a baby girl named Mercy that died almost instantly.
"We said goodbye to Mercy, and I was lying on that table for two hours trying to do everything I could in my power, which was nothing … to relax and stop having contractions, but it wasn't God's will," Lindsey said.
In just 10 minutes, Lindsey had delivered her other five girls, who managed to survive for two hours outside the womb.
"She was holding three of them on her chest and I was getting the next two and I just wanted it stopped," Steve said. "I wanted them to stay in there. I was sobbing and you're like, can't you just stop it?"
"And what I would give to nurse them, to hold them, to rock them to sleep, to dress them. I want to be their mom, I want them to be here, you know, but that wasn't God's will," the heartbroken mom said.
Yet given the roller-coaster the family went through, Lindsey and Steve remain committed to their decision not to choose selective reduction.
"No. Oh, gosh, I haven't even thought about that question," Lindsey said. "No, I would do the past however many, 21 weeks again and again and again if I had the choice."
"I want all 7 of them here so badly," she wrote on the family's blog. "But I have a real peace about how it ended. God has such a greater purpose in this story than we can understand. We've seen a glimpse of this greater purpose in the transformation of our own hearts not withstanding the transformed lives and hearts of hundreds of friends, family, and complete strangers who testify that the story of messiah has pointed them to Jesus Christ."