These Babies Didn’t Live Long After Birth, But Their Lives Still Had Meaning

National   |   Rebecca Downs   |   May 5, 2014   |   12:38PM   |   Washington, DC

While some hospitals may not grant the dignity of life saving treatment to prematurely born children, several inspiring stories of parents who have gotten to spend a precious few minutes or hours with their children are making it into the news as well.

Just last week, a blog post from Matt Wessell, a musician from Wisconsin, was shared, titled “World’s Best Mom” about the few hours he and his wife had with their son, Randol Thomas, who was born at the gestational age of 25 weeks.

randallthomasA particularly inspiring section of the post comes from when Matt’s wife, Katie, was determined enough to make it to the NICU to see their son just hours after her C-Section delivery:

When the doctors told us that Randol Thomas wasn’t going to make it, Katie asked her nurses what it would take to get her from her delivery room down to the NICU to see her son while he was still alive. When her extraordinary nurses (seriously, they were amazing) understandably questioned whether that was even possible given that she had just undergone a major operation, Katie rephrased her question into a statement that was more like, “I need to see him. Please. Just tell me what I need to do.” From there, the nurses came up with an improvised game plan that included a heavy dose of medication just to get her out of bed and into a wheelchair. During the transport, my determined wife uttered no cries of pain. She was wheeled down to the NICU and was able to hold our son’s living hand while singing to him — just a couple hours after her C-section. Because when you’re the world’s best mom, nothing can stand in the way of you being there for your child.

Katie also remembered to have their son baptized when no one else did, which happened “just in time:”

When she was in the NICU, she realized no one had called a priest to have Randol Thomas baptized. We quickly called the on-call chaplain and asked him to come in. He arrived just in time to baptize our little boy. Our son took his last attempted breath during the baptism and his heart stopped beating just seconds after it had ended. It was the perfect ending to his perfect life, and all because of Katie. Because when you’re the world’s best mom, you remember things that no one else does, even in moments of pure chaos.

walter3And last year, Lexi Fretz shared the story of her son Walter Joshua Fretz, who was miscarried at 19 weeks and lived a few minutes after birth.

Tens of thousands of LifeNews readers learned of Walter and shared his story on Facebook and Twitter. News of Walter’s short but inspiring life was also covered by Bristol Palin’s blog on Patheos, as well as international news sites in Australia and in the United Kingdom, where the Daily Mail  mentioned that “Fretz says she hopes the story of her son Walter can help open up discussion about pre-term labor and miscarriage, which affect more than 1 million women in America each year.”

From Lexi’s story for

…So while I felt abandoned and alone in the ER, the OB area was amazing. They encouraged us to hold and bond with our son. In fact he left our room while I had the d&c and then was back with us until the funeral home came to take him. I’m heartbroken by the stories I’ve been hearing from people who weren’t allowed to see their child. That would be so absolutely devastating! I held him, cuddled him, while his heart was beating I held him to my heart, I counted his toes and kissed his tiny head. I will always cherish those memories that I have of him.

walter2Lexi, herself a photographer, shares at first that she did not want to have pictures taken of Walter, but was ultimately glad that her husband, Joshua, got the camera.

Walter has his own album on his mother’s website, and Lexi closes with this:

I am so very glad that Joshua went to our vehicle and got my camera. At first I did not want any photos, but they are the only thing I have to look back on now. I’m still in shock at how much his photos have been shared and commented on. In his short life of just a few minutes he has touched more lives then I ever could have imagined. I have gotten messages from people all around the country who have experienced a loss or were just touched by his story. I’ve even had a few people tell me that they were able to use his photos to reach out to a hurting woman who was contemplating an abortion. Just because the child within can not be seen by us does not mean that it is a blob of cells.

Walter was perfectly formed and very active in the womb. If he had just a few short more weeks he would have had a fighting chance at life. I don’t understand why the Lord took him home, but I have to trust in his perfect timing. I may never know why, but it is a comfort to know where he is and that I will see him again. For now, he’s with his heavenly father who loves him unmeasurably more then I, as his earthly mother ever could.

If you would like to see some more of Walter’s photos, please visit my website at

Please feel free to share our photos. In all our hurt, I am glad that some good can come out of this. I pray that the Lord will continue to use Walter’s photos to impact many.

Just months before Lexi wrote about Walter, a video of another child who was born and lived for less than twenty minutes, but who still had a tremendous impact on her parents and others, was released. Alesa and Jesse Turner, parents of Lorelai Elizabeth Turner uploaded a memorial of their daughter, who was born and died on February 13, 2007.



The video chronicles Alesa’s pregnancy as well as pictures of Lorelai after her birth, and funeral, as well as quotes and ways in which her parents remembered her life and death at other occasions, such as her first birthday.

As the stories of Roland Thomas Wessell, Walter Joshua Fretz and Lorelai Elizabeth Turner demonstrate, neither gestational age nor time lived make anyone any more or less a person, and such qualities certainly do not lessen the impact these children may have on the world.