Elizabeth knew she could be around for her baby but all she wanted was her child to live. She even left behind her spirit through numerous videos.
A mother's love begins way before the actual birth of her child. From the day she hears about her pregnancy, she yearns to see the face of the tiny one growing inside her. Her love is so unconditional and immense that she puts her unseen child before her. Elizabeth Joice was such a mother. All she wanted was for her baby to live, to experience everything she had. So, Elizabeth made a compromise.
Elizabeth and her husband Max Joice could not believe they were going to have a baby. Having battled with sarcoma, a rare cancer, for three years, the young woman was declared to be infertile. So, the news of Elizabeth's pregnancy that came out in June 2013 was surprising. “The test that I’m the most happiest that I passed!” says a thrilled Joice in “40 Weeks,” a documentary.
12 weeks after getting an all-clear signal from the doctor, the couple decided to share the exciting news with family and friends. However, just a day after sharing the good news with their dear ones, the pregnant woman was struck by the most heartbreaking news. Upon diagnosis, the doctors confirmed she was suffering from a tumor in the spine. The cancer had returned into Elizabeth's life but this time it was different.
Doctors informed her that a full-body MRI scan to locate tumors was only possible if the pregnancy was terminated. “It was like the world’s cruelest joke,” said the mother to be. Elizabeth was all prepared to bring a beautiful child into the world and she could not imagine giving it up. She refused to abort her child and decided to go through with it, no matter what. "There’s never going to be anything in my life that I’m going to do that is more amazing than this," said the woman in the documentary quoted New York Post. Knowing that it was probably her only chance, she refused to abort her child and decided to go through with it no matter what. “Having a kid was one of the most important things in the world to her,” said her husband.
Forced with choice between treating her cancer and continuing her pregnancy, Elizabeth Joice sacrificed her life: http://t.co/7YtOl1FZI3— ABC News (@ABC) April 3, 2014
The pregnant devastated mother was operated to remove the tumor from her spine. However, all she wanted was her baby to be safe. Despite the operation, the New York couple was hit with more bad news. When Elizabeth was 33-weeks, doctors found that her cancer had returned. It had already affected her abdomen, right lung, and heart. The woman knew there was no turning back and so the bitter couple bid farewell to each other. They calmed themselves thinking of all the good times they had together. "We said our goodbyes. It was like something out of a movie. We sat there and cried. We tried to tell stories, talk about all the great things," recalled Max.
On 23 January 2015, her baby girl Lily was prematurely born. Ironically, just 6 weeks after her arrival, Elizabeth bid farewell to the world, leaving her family devastated.
The young mother had consciously made a decision for her daughter. She had left videos for her child that would remind her of her mother. And this was possible because of the 40 Weeks documentary director, Christopher Henze. He had become fast friends with the family and combined footage of Elizabeth to make several videos that Lily could watch to see and hear her mother.
They even recorded a special message after her second cancer diagnosis that said, "Regardless of whatever happens to me, going through this to bring you here is always going to be worth it, no question. I don’t want that to be hard on you."
The director said, "Our plan is to keep crafting pieces to allow Lily more and more access as she’s mature enough to handle the story of mom." He continued, saying, "Right now, it’s about shapes and sounds and colors . . . [with] her mother’s image and her mother’s voice. So she knows what her mother looks like, knows what her mother sounds like."
Max hopes her daughter gets to know more about her mother through the videos. He even said that Lily reminded him of Elizabeth. "Liz’s magic rubbed off on Lily. She’s beautiful and remarkable. It provides me with the strength to get through this," said the proud father.