Many times I am so struck by a news headline that I immediately know that I must write about it in my next blog. Such was the case last night when I saw the headline “Stomach Tumor Turns Out to be Baby.” When I read that headline, I felt like checking the calendar to just confirm that we are indeed living in the year 2009. I just could not imagine a woman of today going through most of her pregnancy not realizing that she was carrying a baby inside of her.

 

        I have heard of similar stories of young women experiencing intense pain and “cramping” only to discover that their “ailment” and discomfort was actually due to the fact that they were at full term in a pregnancy and going through labor. Usually these young mothers are anywhere from about fifteen to nineteen years old live in the back hills of West Virginia or in some remote farm country where education is not high on the priority list.

 

        What shocked me about this story is that it involved a woman who was thirty-five years old at the time, she was educated and for the first six months of her pregnancy, she had been examined by a slew of doctors. Her name is Alice Eve Cohen and she is now the author of the book entitled “What I Thought I Knew”. I saw her interviewed just this morning in which she spoke in great detail about what she thought she knew about herself, her body, her emotions, her ability to understand what is going on with herself, and how she realized that she actually knew none of these things. I would say that is an understatement to say the least.

 

        She is now forty-four years of age and her daughter who she named Elliana is now nine years old. What occurred almost ten years ago is that her belly began to swell, she began to feel differently, and she also began experiencing uncomfortable and slightly painful sensations. She talked of how she went from doctor to doctor and was told various things. One doctor told her that she was overworked and overstressed. Another doctor told her that she had a bladder disorder. She was also told that she had a hormone imbalance and she was put on a synthetic hormone regimen. A fourth doctor told her that she had cancer and the swelling was caused by an out of control abdominal tumor. When the swelling in her belly began to increase , she went to yet another doctor and that is when she finally, at the sixth month of her pregnancy, discovered that she was expecting a baby. Forgive me, but I am scratching my head right now and again, am double checking the television news to make sure that the year is 2009 and that I am living in the United States. I am just perplexed that no pregnancy tests were done at the start of this whole saga…no ultra sounds, no blood tests to determine a possible pregnancy, nothing? I just would think that if a woman’s stomach begins to swell for no apparent reason, would not pregnancy be one of the first, if not THE first possible reason that any doctor would rule out? Apparently not as little Elliana continued to grow inside of her mom yet was thought to be a cancerous tumor for six months. Mrs. Cohen talked of how stunned she was when she learned that this tumor was actually a baby. She said in the interview that she was shocked at this news because she had always been told by those in the medical field that she would never be able to have children, that she was infertile as she had an abnormally small and deformed uterous which would always prevent her from becoming pregnant and carrying a child. My question is that in spite of what she had been told in the past, isn’t it just standard operating procedure to do an ultra sound, some tests, anything to still make certain that a lady with a growing belly is not indeed with child? Goodness, I am flabbergasted at this story. How could this be? How could such gross negligent medical care take place just nine years ago in the year 2000?

 

        Alice Cohen continued to talk in the interview of how she had taken many various medications, synthetic hormones and other treatments that could potentially be extremely harmful to the fetus and thus, at six months along in her pregnancy, she was faced with a decision as to whether or not she should abort her baby. She said that initially she was told that it was too late to do so since she was now entering her third trimester, but that she found a clinic out west somewhere in which the procedure would have been legal and so she realized that she did have that option. It was at this point in the interview that I became quite disgusted. I pondered the irony of it all which is that because of the inept care that the medical community provided for this woman, she did not discover that she was pregnant until she was six months along , yet the innocent baby was in jeopardy of paying the ultimate price for this shameful incompetence. This woman who was so out of touch with her own body that she did not recognize that the growth, the movement, the life inside of her was her own child , may now end that child’s life. How tragic and even criminal if that were to have happened. Thankfully, it did not and Mrs. Cohen chose to have her baby. Her precious daughter is now nine years old and is an intelligent, thriving little girl who just finished reading her mom’s book that was being promoted in this interview where Mrs. Cohen was telling her story. At the conclusion of the questioning, Mrs. Cohen bragged with a smile on her face of how her daughter, (Elliana) gave the book a great, raving, thumbs up review. All I can say is that I am praising God for the fact that she is even here to read the book and share an opinion.

  

        I wonder how she felt though as she read the part where her mom talks of agonizing over the decision to abort her or not. I have never been in that position but it must be a very odd and eery feeling to be reading a book written by your mother in which she talks in great detail of how she is undecided as to whether she is going to kill you or not even before you have the chance to be born. It simply must be a very confusing thing for a nine year old to read. Her mother said that her little girl told her that it was “a very good book.” Well, that is sweet of her to say yet all I can do is just thank God that she is alive and here to say it.

 

        As the interview concluded, I just felt sort of empty and a bit sad. Here is a woman who I am certain is hoping to make some money on her newly released book that tells the story of how she thought she knew herself and her body but apparently she did not. It tells of how unbelievably incompetent some in the medical field are, and it shares this mother’s great conflict and debate within herself about whether she should destroy the little life that was growing inside of her that God had given to her. The only bright spot in the entire interview is when she spoke of her beautiful little daughter who just finished completing the book. Isn’t it interesting though that the bulk of the book is apparently not about her little girl but about her? Even the title “What I Thought I Knew” has the word “I” in it two times and isn’t that really the issue? I believe it is as this title itself shows quite simply and plainly what the real problem is. It is the same problem with many other stories of today which is this; It’s all about us. It’s not about God, how He works in our lives, His blessings, His gift of children and the joy and wonderment of how He is involved in our lives, but the focus instead is on us. I am not saying that this woman’s story is not interesting. If for nothing else, just the amazing ignorance of her and the doctors that misdiagnosed her might make this book a compelling read. It is just sad that the real lesson of it is sadly missed. That nine year old who is breathing and reading today is the real victory, the triumph if you will, of the story.

 

Yes, this was another headline that stopped me dead in my tracks.

It shocked me, saddened me, yet strengthened my resolve.

It’s not about us, it’s all about God.

I hope some day we can get it right.