Dallas News video: "Choosing Thomas - Inside a family's decision to let their son live, if only for a brief time"

UPDATE, 9:40a: From moderator Chris:

There's another organization that helps celebrate these young lives. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is a non-profit that coordinates professional photographers to capture stories similar to Thomas's. They provide beautiful heirloom remembrance photography that helps heal and tell these poignant stories for families and loved ones.

My friend Allison Runnion-Baker forwarded the video below, made by the Dallas News. It tells the touching story of a couple who decided to carry their lethally ill baby to term. The video is very well done and sends a powerful pro-life message. Baby Thomas's mother Deidrea says in the video, "I think sometimes when you make the toughest decisions, you can get the greatest joy out of those."

Get your kleenex out. You will watch birth, celebrating life, and mourning death in quick succession....

Allison and I worked at Christ Hospital together. She testified with me before a congressional subcommittee about her experience there....

Alli now works with parents like T. K. and Deidrea in a perinatal palliative care program, "working with mamas who know that they may have an infant pass from some sort of lethal, genetic or life limiting condition," she wrote me, continuing:

Anyway, from where I started I can now look back and see how some institutions are actually making a difference and celebrating life, even if it is only for a very short time. We need to encourage more support for this type of program in our health care systems. It is so needed! It truly is the opposite of what we experienced at Christ Hospital... for now....


God bless that wonderful couple!! Thomas and the new baby are so blessed to have such wonderful parents. Please keep us up to date on the new baby.

Posted by: Lovethemboth at September 2, 2009 7:13 AM

My heart is aching...and I am in tears. God Bless this family. I can't even imagine how hard it is for them.
What hit me the most is when the mom said that her "arms and belly will be empty".

Posted by: NewMom at September 2, 2009 7:17 AM

Life is precious no matter how long it lasts. None of us are guaranteed that we will be alive by the end of today.Whether your life is a day, a year or 100 years, life is PRECIOUS.

It never made sense to me that parents would kill their child because their child might die. HUH?

Posted by: Sydney M at September 2, 2009 7:37 AM

I love them. I love Thomas. Such precious time they spent loving their son!! Beautiful.

I have never understood that either. Kill the child before he/she dies naturally.

Posted by: carla Author Profile Page at September 2, 2009 8:05 AM

Tears are dripping into my mourning coffee....God bless Thomas and his Parents. They chose life for him and he lived for 5 days, which I can bet were the best 5 days of his parents life.

Posted by: Ak Krystal at September 2, 2009 10:10 AM

Tears streaming here, too...what a powerful message. So many women are *told* to terminate by their doctors to limit their child's suffering to only "fill in the blank" months...Thomas did not suffer in his mother's womb...as Deidrea said, he is safe there...it's when he was born his problems could not be fixed...these parents gave life to Thomas, a human being before he was born and for 5 days more... Hopefully more moms with terminally ill prenatal babies will hear this message... And how wonderful that the parents can tell their new baby girl about her older brother!

Posted by: eileen at September 2, 2009 10:46 AM

I is truly unfortunate that Our Dear Leader is appointing people who, if given the chance, will take this "choice" away from parents because they believe it is "not cost effective treatment."
I have see pro-aborts post here that they believe that allowing such children to be born is "cruel" and an unnecessary expense for society. And in the same post claim to be Christian.
I do not claim to be Christian but I do know immorality when I see it.
A family friend has a daughter in college now. Very bright girl. She was born 16 weeks early. She didn't even weigh two pounds at birth. She spent her first 4 months in a NICU and was allowed to go home when she reached 5 pounds. For the first two months, doctors told the parents that they did not think she will survive.
Under the plans being presented, she would no have been allowed to live. She would be called a miscarriage as was done 30 or more years ago. But medicine has improved the odds for these children.
If parents of children thought to have fatal illnesses are not allowed to be born, then there is no chance to find out if the test were wrong or if the child is defiant and refuses to give up without a fight.
I pray that children like my nephew are never left to the "mercy" of communitarian pseudo-physicians like Zeke Emanuel.

Posted by: Mark at September 2, 2009 10:57 AM

Thank you for putting this video up. I had to stop watching it about 3 times because I couldn't see through my tears. I can't imagine the pain of giving birth to a child that you knew was going to die in a short amount of time.

But the part that struck me the most was at the end when she said, "we didn't terminate because he's our son". Amen. I'm praying for all of the families who have to go through this suffering.

Posted by: LW at September 2, 2009 11:17 AM

Talk about striking home... that precious little one who lived five days... and my five day old son is sleeping peacefully in the bassinet beside me. I never cease to be humbled by the precious blessings that God has now seven times blessed me with. I pray the greatest of blessings upon this family as they await the birth of their precious daughter.

Posted by: Elisabeth at September 2, 2009 11:36 AM

OK, I was not mentally prepared for that. I had to stop the video at one point and take a sob break. This couple is very brave for sharing their grief and joy with the rest of the world.

I find videos like this unusually therapeutic. I never got to hold my first baby, so it's like I get to experience it vicariously through parents like these. It's rough watching at the time, but I feel a sense of healing afterwards.

Posted by: Janette at September 2, 2009 11:37 AM

To see the entire project, including the video and stories (Part 1 is online, and part 2 comes on Sunday), Deidrea Laux's prenatal diary:

go to
http://www.dallasnews.com/choosing thomas


Posted by: Dallas at September 2, 2009 11:46 AM

Elisabeth, I didn't realize your son had been born. Congratulations!

Posted by: Lauren at September 2, 2009 11:55 AM

I posted on a lunchbreak thread... 8/28/09 at 11:52 pm... after 18 hours (which is longer than the other six put together) of labor. 7 lbs. 7 oz., 21 inches, black hair, blue eyes.

Posted by: Elisabeth at September 2, 2009 12:18 PM

AAAWWW....he sounds beautiful, Elisabeth! Post a picture! :)

Posted by: Pamela at September 2, 2009 12:57 PM

"And people were bringing children to Him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it."

Chapter 10

Elisabeth, Congrats!!

Posted by: Jasper at September 2, 2009 12:57 PM

That was just beautiful. A short but wonderful life. Deidre and TK have my total admiration.

Posted by: Andy at September 2, 2009 1:00 PM

I watched this video (heartbreaking) and was reminded of a post on another website from a woman telling the story of her SUPPOSEDLY 'deformed' baby (what other word do I use?) and how she CHOSE to abort that almost full-term baby, because her doctor told her that the baby wouldn't 'enjoy a good quality of life'..only to find out that when the baby 'came out' (again, what words do I use?)that there was absolutely NOTHING WRONG with the baby.She had aborted a PERFECTLY HEALTHY baby for no good reason. She then turned around and did the same thing to ANOTHER baby, because he had a heart defect. She told the story as if she HAD to do it, rather than that she CHOSE to do it. I know it must be heartbreaking to watch your baby die, but why not let GOD decide when to take him/her like this couple did, and spend what precious time you're given with your baby, rather than take it out of God's hands and say "Oh, well, if he/she's gonna die ANYWAY...". I don't understand that 'logic'.

Posted by: Pamela at September 2, 2009 1:25 PM

well I don't know about the rest of you, but I fell in love with Thomas and I only knew him less than 9 minutes!
What marvelous parents who put the rest of the world to shame! What courage and fortitude. Above all, what love!

Posted by: angel at September 2, 2009 1:30 PM


I fell in love with Thomas as well!

And seriously, I'm giving a huge cyberhug to T. K. and Deidrea. They both truly are the essence of love, patience, kindness, understanding, gentleness - I could go on and on. But Angel, you nailed it - above all, LOVE. I thank them for sharing Thomas and their documentary of their love for him.

And Jill, would you happen to know how I could get in touch with the perinatal palliative care program that Alli works with? I would love to volunteer anything I can to help parents such as T.K. & Diedrea. thanks.

Posted by: Marie at September 2, 2009 4:41 PM

I can't remember the last time a video made me cry, but this did it. I can't imagine how difficult this would be, but praise God for providing the strength neccessary for people like T.K. and Deidrea to keep on keeping on.

Posted by: Josh Brahm at September 2, 2009 5:39 PM

Lyrics from a song on a Kari Jobe CD.

"The more I seek YOU, the more I find YOU.

The more I find YOU, the more I love YOU.

I want to sit at YOUR feet,

Drink from the cup in YOUR hands,

Lay back against YOU and breathe,

And hear YOUR heartbeat.

YOUR love is so deep,

It's more than I can stand,

I melt in YOUR peace,

YOU overwhelm me, Jesus."

The last sounds that Thomas heard on this earth were his father's breathing and heartbeat as he lay sleeping on his chest.

Wow, what a beautiful picture of the lovingkindness of the Father's heart towards HIS children.

yor bro ken

Posted by: kbhvac at September 2, 2009 5:59 PM

Bawling my eyes out. How very sad, yet hopeful that we will see baby Thomas again in a complete and perfect body. God bless you, Deidre and TK for choosing life and honoring life and God in the process. big hugs,

Posted by: LISA at September 2, 2009 6:01 PM

Absolutely wonderful couple who have my full admiration and respect.

What a wonderful way for baby Thomas to spend his brief life here on earth. He was totally surrounded with love. And now he is safe in the arms of Jesus.

Posted by: Joanne at September 2, 2009 6:27 PM

I JUST read this while looking up something else:

As Mother Theresa put it so simply "love means to be willing to give until it hurts."

Posted by: Marie at September 2, 2009 7:18 PM

No matter what our lot in life, what trials He has given us to bear, He gives us Grace so that we can demonstrate His Love to the world.

God is so Good.

"This is the clear difference between God’s children and the Devil’s children: all who do not do what is right or do not love others are not God’s children." 1 Jn 3:10 (Good News Version)

And when we make mistakes, He is so Loving and Merciful and Kind. He is Faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

His Mercies are new every morning.

Posted by: Ed at September 2, 2009 7:34 PM

Thanks be to God. This was amazing. Beautiful, as it is heartbreaking. This is the sort of example we should be holding up to the youth of our nation, to show them examples of such selfless, complete love.

And everyone, imagine this. . . Imagine, when their daughter now unborn grows up to be old enough to watch this video. . . Imagine what an incredible new gift to this child it will be to be able to see in such honest, intimate realism the depth of her parents' love for her brother and for each other! To be able to live this again with them, what an incredible blessing!!!

Posted by: Scott Johnston at September 2, 2009 8:23 PM

After reading the comments, I know I will not be able to get through the video without crying. I was given the same prognosis (different diagnosis) with my baby girl a little over a year ago. Unfortunately we lost her during the pregnancy. She was 25 weeks.

My reason for commenting on this story is that I am so glad to see that someone is willing to bring this to light. I am glad to see the Dallas News bring this to the attention of so many who haven't a clue (and you too Jill!). At least I had no idea, until it happened to me and my husband.

You can read my story on my blog, but what I learned is this: Life is given and ordained by God. We have no right to decide when it should end, even if it doesn't seem perfect. God has a purpose for EVERY life (even the teeny tiny ones) and we have to leave that up to Him.

Posted by: Jessi at September 3, 2009 12:38 PM

I put off watching this because I didn't know if I could handle it emotionally right now...but I finally did.

But I just want to say that I am so very sorry for your loss, Deidrea and T.K. But I am also blessed to see how your beautiful son was surrounded with the love of his parents until he passed away, and he had five days with you and was held in your arms.

Grieving with you in your loss of Thomas, but rejoicing with you in the new baby girl God has given you.

Posted by: Kel at September 3, 2009 12:46 PM

I don't know about anyone else, but I had to pause the video partway through to cuddle my little boy!I just wanted to reach through the screen and give Thomas loves and cuddles and kisses!

I thought I was done crying, too, but after reading all the comments, I'm in tears yet again!

That sweet little boy!

Thank you for sharing this story with us, Jill. And thanks to your friend Alli for getting the word out. And many, many thanks to T.K. and Dierdre for choosing life and for sharing their choice with the world! And thank you, Lord, for all the little blessings you send into our world!

Oh, and CONGRATULATIONS Elizabeth on your little baby boy! And to T.K. and Dierdre on their little girl (we share a due date month)!

Posted by: MaryRose at September 3, 2009 2:12 PM

How wonderful that we live in this great country where these parents were able to CHOOSE the right path for them and for their family. Too bad there are so many who would deny the same choice to others.

Posted by: bob j at September 4, 2009 11:22 AM

What choice do people want to take away, Bob?

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at September 4, 2009 11:23 AM

What a wonderful and life affirming video and story. My heart truly breaks for the family at their loss, but also rejoices in knowing that they know they did the right thing. They will never regret the life they gave their son because there is no "what if's". The few people I know that have had 2nd and 3rd term abortions regret it like crazy and one did a 3rd term based off a prenatal diagnosis of Down's, only to do the abortion and learn her child was perfectly healthy. You just never know 100% until the child is born... just like a "normal" baby would be classified as a normal pregnancy only to find out he/she had problems at birth.

May God bless this family abundantly and thank you for sharing such a beautiful story.

Congrats Elizabeth!!! :)

Posted by: dirtdartwife at September 4, 2009 7:23 PM