- Associated Press - Monday, February 6, 2017

INDIAN VILLAGE, La. (AP) - When Julia Courville, pregnant with her fourth child, began leaking amniotic fluid at just 17 weeks she refused to abort her unborn son despite warnings from doctors that he would be born with Down syndrome and clubfeet.

“I went in for what was supposed to be an exciting ultrasound, but the technician noticed something which got the attention of my OB/GYN,” Courville said.

A few weeks later, Courville was told she was at risk of a miscarriage and was placed on bed rest.

“Everything went from bad to worse in just a few weeks,” she said. “The first option was abortion, but we both said absolutely not. If it was meant to be, then we would handle it.”

The diagnosis was a crushing blow for both Courville and her husband, Adam, who remained adamant, refusing to give up, letting their faith guide them in hopes of giving their baby a chance at survival.

“I could live with whatever was given to us,” Courville said.

At 24 weeks of pregnancy, Courville was admitted to Lafayette General, where she stayed for three weeks before giving birth to son Briggs.

“I had a C-section,” Courville said, adding that most of what happened in the operating room remains fuzzy. “I remember my sister saying he looked like a little squirrel. I hadn’t seen him. I only heard his little noise.”

Briggs was immediately sent to the neonatal unit while Courville was sent to recovery.

“The doctors were telling me he had less than a 5 percent chance to live and that he wouldn’t make it through the night,” she said.

The news was devastating to the young couple, who had three other young children waiting at home.

“Before I went into labor I’d set up an emergency baptism,” she said. “They rolled me in my hospital bed to see him get baptized.”

The next day the unbelievable happened.

“The doctor walked in and said, ‘I don’t know what y’all did, but someone way above us has control and he is going to make it.’

“I knew he would. I just had this feeling: He was a fighter.”

Briggs remained in the hospital for nearly four weeks with only two setbacks. He was sent home with oxygen and a sleep apnea monitor, but has been off the oxygen since June.

“He has asthma and a chronic lung disease which he will probably never outgrow, but for the most part he is a normal kid,” she said. “It’s just something he’ll have to live with and keep under control.”

Briggs is a miracle baby, she said.

“Just seeing him defy all the odds against him makes me extremely proud,” she said. “I have always been faithful. This just gives me stronger faith.”

Just two months shy of his second birthday, Briggs seems to be developing normally. He has gone from 2 pounds, 5 ounces at birth to weighing 30 pounds and stands nearly 3 feet tall.

“He likes to get into everything and loves being outside,” she said.

He also loves playing with his brother, Mason, 9, and sisters, Lily, 7, and Catherine, 3.

Courville’s advice to other woman is simple.

“Don’t give up,” she said. “Just listen to what the doctor says and do everything you can because not all situations turn out for the worst, even though you have to prepare for the worst. You have to have faith.”


Information from: American Press, https://www.americanpress.com

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