MIFFLINTOWN - This year's Heartbeat Community Services Inc. Banquet will feature a woman who was told abortion was her best option.
She chose life instead.
Stacey Hostetler, of Beaver Springs, is set to speak at 6 p.m. Nov. 9, at First Baptist Church in Mifflintown. Tickets cost $20 per person, and money is due by Nov. 1. Call 589-7208 to register.
Sentinel photo by TABITHA GOODLING
Stacey Hostetler is this year’s guest speaker at the Heartbeat Community Services Inc. Banquet.
Heartbeat is located in Millerstown and offers abortion alternatives and other ways of helping women who are expecting.
Hostetler is a second grade teacher at West Snyder Elementary School and a graduate of Penn State and Wilkes Universities. She is married with two children, Weston, 5, and Cooper, 2.
It was during her pregnancy with Cooper that options were presented to her.
During a routine measurement check at 13 weeks gestation, her doctor discovered a sac of fluid attached to the baby from his head to his spine. Her doctor told her it was likely she would miscarry. In order to prevent miscarriage, she could opt to abort the baby.
The doctor also told her an abortion was the best option because if she did not miscarry the baby, the child could be born and die later. It was also possible the baby would survive and would be a child of "great needs," she was told. Abortion was the logical answer, her doctor said.
Hostetler and her husband, Gerald, repeatedly told the doctor this was not an option for their family.
The Hostetlers spent a significant amount of time in prayer and sought God as they continued through the pregnancy, awaiting the unknown.
One test revealed the child would be positive for Down's Syndrome and another suggested heart problems. After an amniocentesis, those predictions were proven false. The sac of fluid on the baby's spine disappeared.
But the journey was not over.
Their unborn son was later diagnosed with TARS, Thrombocytopenia-absent radius syndrome. This meant he was missing the radius bone or lower bone that connects the elbow to the hand in both arms. This is also a blood disorder that requires periodic blood transfusions for the youngster to this day.
The baby, who was named Cooper, also was diagnosed with arthogryposis, a joint and muscle condition.
He was born with these disorders, but otherwise healthy, on Jan. 27, 2011.
"He is cognitively fine," Hostetler said.
She describes her active 2-year-old son as "very compassionate, outgoing, shows perseverance and is very motivated and happy."
More details will be shared at the banquet, Hostetler said. She will also talk about how this experience has influenced her personal faith and why teens should consider their actions regarding premarital sex.
"This can happen to anyone," she said of the pregnancy and difficulties her family has faced.
For more information about the services at Heartbeat Community Services Inc., visit www.heartbeatcs.org.