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 human life.
Click here to obtain a copy of Daniel Dumas’ (the father of Francis) book Twenty Minutes In Eternity