Posted: May 12, 2013 9:43 PM by Dennis Carlson - MTN News
Mother's Day is that special day when we honor the most important women in our lives - moms.
But for one local mother, this is a day of mixed, powerful emotions.
A mother, who 20 years ago, was carrying a child with a disorder where most of the major portions of the brain do not develop. The disorder is always fatal.
"Something inside, this mother's intuition said something is wrong," said Maria La Fond, at a quiet ceremony outside Livingston.
La Fond dedicated a memorial to her daughter Kristina - laid to rest 20 years ago.
November 9, 1992 was the day Maria discovered that the daughter she was carrying had a rare condition called Anencephaly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year, about 1 in every 4,859 babies in the United States will be born with anencephaly
"Our neural tube, which becomes our spinal column - at 21 to 28 days after conception it comes to a full close," explained Maria. "If it doesn't come to a close at the top at the neck, you have varying degrees of Anencyphaly."
After a series of tests, Maria was faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make...induce labor immediately or carry to term.
Her due date - Mothers' Day, 1993.
"They said Kristina will die shortly before, during or after her birth," she said.
For Maria, her decision was based on her faith and her Montana heritage.
"But she had a heartbeat," Maria said. "What's important to you. What can you live with, what can you not live with, personally."
She adds: "Montanans are pioneers. We're adaptors."
Maria spent the rest of her pregnancy planning a birth and a funeral at the same time.
"And when you have breakfast, lunch and dinner with death...you really get to know death and you learn not to be afraid of it."
On May 10, 1993, the day after Mother's Day, following a 12-hour labor, Maria gave birth to her daughter.
She lived for 9 minutes.
"You never get over losing a child."
Today, 20 years later, looking back on a no-win situation, Maria says she's found hope and healing. It's a message she wants to share with others.
"When you're in the dark, or you feel your life is in the dark, there's a candle," Maria explains. "It's just that you may have to light it. And this is my way of lighting a candle to show others...I've been there and I can show you a way out."
Today support groups and resources for parents faced with just the same sort of decision are available.
For more information:
New technology allows headstones to tell the story of one's life
The headstone featured in our story has two names on it.
Kristina's and the name of a son, who Maria miscarried later in 1993 - Christian Paul.
Tom Olson of Bozeman Granite Works engraved the stone...which includes a new, high-tech application, a Q-R Code.
Scan the code with a smart-phone and you'll be taken to a website dedicated to the memory of both Kristina and Christian.
The QR grave stone application for has been around for about a year.
Now, headstones can tell the story of a person's life, not just a name and dates of birth and death.