My name is Liz and my husband’s name is Todd. We’ve been married 7 years and have 2 daughters, Samantha who is 6 and Sarah who is 3. We live in Texas. I am a stay-at-home mom, and Todd is a 1-A high school baseball coach.
At 16 weeks and 4 days we got the horrible news. I had a triple screen test normally done around 15 weeks to screen for neural tube and other defects. My materal-serum alpha-fetoprotein was high so I had an increased risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect, a 1/161 chance according to my specific levels. The most common type of neural tube defect is spina bifida. My OB sent us to a maternal-fetal specialist who did a level 2 (more accurate) sonogram. I had had a regular sonogram done early to date the pregnancy. According to the dates alone I was (at the 1st sonogram) 10 weeks. The sonogram, however, showed that I was more like 7 weeks along. A confusion in the dates could give a high reading in the triple screen like I had and my OB and the MF specialist thought that was most likely the case.
So, on July 12, 2001 we went in for the level 2 sonogram. The doctor hardly spoke, she pointed out a perfectly forming leg bone and that was it. After a very long time, during which I wasn’t at all nervous (not normal for me, I’m a worry-wart), she turned the machine off and said there was a problem with baby’s brain. Of course, I started to cry, not yet realizing how bad it REALLY was. She walked us into her office and told us that our baby had anencephaly and there was no hope. He would die before or shortly after birth. She also told us that most women in this situation end the pregnancy. My family has never believed in abortion, so it was hard for me to think of doing that even in the state of shock I was in at the time.
Through a pro-life anencephaly online support group, I came across the Catholic doctorine I needed to know that what I felt in my heart was right. (even though many people told me that it would not be considered abortion because the baby had no chance of life, I still thought it was wrong) It’s the “Moral Principles Concerning Infants with Anencephaly” published by the Vatican, You can find it at: www.petersnet.com.
It states that it is morally wrong to abort a baby no matter what kind of defect he/she has, including something as severe as anencephaly! Every person has the right to be born and to die naturally and you become a person with that right at conception!! My thoughts exactly!!!!
William was alive inside me and he died naturally when God chose him to! Everything else about the pregnancy was normal until the end. I felt him kicking, stretching, and tumbling!! (A LOT) 🙂 He had a strong heartbeat and had every toe and finger in place. I was his life support, as some might say.
After anencephalic babies are born and they live (50%), they can nurse, suck, grasp your finger with their hands and be loved!!! Some babies can live several days or just several minutes. A very rare few live months or years.
In October while driving in my little town a crazy lady T-boned the side of my car. It would have been a minor accident until she decided she would flee the scene. I had to chase her down and force her to stop. She actually crashed up on a curb because she had been looking at me. Well, to make a long story short, I was taken to the local hospital by ambulance with contractions coming every 3 minutes. I was given an injection to stop or slow contractions. Which it did, but only to every 9 minutes. I was then taken to San Antonio by ambulance mainly to be monitored. Nothing else happened. I was fine and released the next day. 3 days before this accident we had 2 tornados also. But thank God we didn’t have any damage done! I was about 33 weeks pregnant then.
William was due December 23, 2001, we had planned to induce labor on December 19th. But, at my last doctor’s appt. (Dec. 6th) my doc sent me up for an “emergency” sonogram because of how huge my belly had gotten. The sonogram confirmed her diagnosis of polyhydramnios, too much amniotic fluid. Way to much, I had over 32 cm and the average should have been 5 to 10cm for the stage I was in. She said I needed to deliver by the following week. I was in a lot of pain in my abdomen, back, and legs, A LOT! And it was all caused by the polyhydramnios. We scheduled an appt. to be induced on Sunday the 9th at 7:30. The reality of everything was slowly hitting me.
Dr. Gallaghar literally put a tiny pin prick in my bag of water to let the amniotic fliud come out slowly. Well, It gushed out but, thank God not fast enough for all the complications to occur. The complications were a cord prolapse and placental abruption, both of which would cut of oxygen to Will. For me the risk was post partum hemorrhaging. But like I said none of that happened! Thank you, God! I was dialating alright, but Dr. G. decided to give me alittle Pitocin to move things along. The Pitocin worked very fast and so I got my epidural shortly after that.
William was born December 9th, 2001 at 11:58 am. I was scared at first, I thought he was already gone, but then he gasped for air and stretched his arms and legs. My mom performed an emergency baptism which is recongnized by the Catholic church. He weighed only 4 pounds and 6 ounces, but he ws a good 17 and 3/4 inches long. He would blow bubbles and coo. Oh the sound of his sweet little voice, I love it and remember it well!!
He held my finger tight and was so warm and beautiful to us! Everyone held him, even Samantha and Sarah. We dressed him in his cute little outfit and Todd put on his little baseball socks. I had given Todd the socks when I 1st found out I was pregnant in May, 2001. I left them in a giftbag in his Jeep as a “surprise”. He came home with a huge smile on his face! We buried William in them.
William died in my arms at 3:01 pm the same day. I kept Will with me the rest of the day and that night. The following day we cherished the few hours we had with Will before Mr. Dawson came from Dawson Funeral Directors to pick William up from my hospital room. That was so hard!! The girls cried alot and of course so did Todd and I. Samantha asked why Jesus didn’t share and said this was all unfair. We told her that Jesus did share with us, we had Will for 3 precious hours and inside me for 9 months! And Our goal in life is to be united with Jesus and the Blessed Virgin, Will accomplished that!!! William never commited one sin and was washed from original sin through baptism, He’s a little saint!!!
We celebrated the Mass of the Angels on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 at 7:00 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Hondo, TX. It was so beautiful!!!! Todd read a beautiful poem that I will put up soon. Our friend Troy Langfeld read the 1st reading. Todd’s mom and dad read the 2nd & 3rd readings. And my parents and brother and sister carried the bread and wine. There were so many people there! One thing that broke my heart was to see Todd’s big football and baseball players actually sobbing! I hope this experience helps those kids to think twice about how precious life is. One friend pointed out that Will’s initials are W.J.C. With Jesus Christ!
We had a graveside funeral at San Fernando Catholic Cemetary #2 in San Antonio, TX. Again it was beautiful but definitely the hardest part for me!!! I found it so hard to leave my angel. I had to keep reminding myself and the girls that it was only Will’s body that was buried there, he was already in Heaven with God!!!
You know, William’s short life here has changed a lot of people’s lives for the better! I have seen people re-examine their faith and relationships. Family members have been brought together and frienships have strengthened, all because of William Jasper Craft! If I had to do it ALL again I would. I wouldn’t change my decisions. And I don’t regret them in any way!! I am glad to have given birth to William full term and thankful that we at least had three hours with him.
Please remember to say “I love you” and “I forgive you”, don’t wait for a tragedy to remember who’s most important! And always keep God 1st!