Kristine and I learned during
the sixteenth week of the pregnancy that our third child
had severe physical abnormalities. All of the medical
professionals informed us that these abnormalities were
incompatible with life. Our child, we were told, was
going to die. The physician recommended that we terminate
the pregnancy as soon as possible. Kristine and I believe
that life begins at conception and ends with natural
death. Abortion was never an option.
We never received a specific
diagnosis as to the cause of the abnormalities. One
physician explained to us that it was just bad luck.
A geneticist who examined our son after his death decided
our child’s birth defect was most likely caused
by a lodged blood clot during the first couple weeks
of the pregnancy.
Our son’s abdominal walls
never formed. The skin from his collar bones down to
the pelvic bone never developed. His whole abdominal
area was not contained within his body. All of his bodily
organs, including his heart and liver, were free-floating
in the amniotic sac. The doctors kept referring to it
as the free-floating mass. Due to the lack of physical
structure, the defect caused the rest of his body to
contort in unnatural ways. His spine was bent in no
less than five positions, his head was arched backwards,
and his legs were twisted behind himself.
Our son Francis defied all odds.
He was carried to term, was born alive, and baptized.
He may have lived for only twenty minutes on this earth,
but he has had a profound and lasting effect on all
those who come to hear his story. I wrote the story
of his life, with as honest a representation of the
pain and suffering we endured as possible. I also spoke
of the joys, and the amazing blessing God chose to bestow
on us, to encourage those parents who suffer with a
similar diagnosis to pray for the grace of acceptance.
Kristine and I pray that his
story will teach others that there is always hope, and
that God has authored a dignified purpose for every
to obtain a copy of Daniel Dumas' (the father of Francis)
book Twenty Minutes In Eternity
to Other Stories
-The support, information and encouragement provided by the PPFL parents is not meant to take the place of medical advice by a medical professional. Any specific questions about care should be directed to a health care professional familiar with the situation.