Ajani Josiah Cross was born on April 20th, 2007. He never lived outside of the womb.
There is a long story behind how Ajani came to be born, and I hope to share a little of it with you here.
We found out that Kelly was pregnant with Ajani in the late summer of 2006. We hadn’t been trying for a baby, and the pregnancy was a surprise - albeit a very pleasant one. We had no indication anything was amiss, until we had the first scan, I think its at 20 week.
The ultrasound operators got increasingly flustered as they tried to get a good look at the baby, until they eventually had to pluck up the nerve to tell us the bad news: “I’m sorry, but there is a problem with your baby.”
Ajani had a condition called anencephaly, which actually covers a fair range of physical conditions, but in his case meant that the brain had basically not formed properly. In fact when he was born, Ajani had nothing much beyond the eyebrow line.
We were told then that our baby had a condition that is not compatible with life outside of the womb. We were shocked and totally devastated - of course. In fact we were in pieces, we just didnt know what to do or say, so we just howled with sadness and pain.
We knew we had to make a tough decision… Ajani’s life had no medical likelihood of continuing after birth. Medically there was little point in continuing the pregnancy, so we were told that we could either have a termination, or if we preferred to, we could continue the pregnancy and let things take their natural course.
This wasn’t the easy decision it might have been. We talked cried and prayed long and hard before deciding to carry on with the pregnancy - it was one of the toughest decisions we’ve ever had to make - in fact I think it was the toughest.
But it was probably also the best one we’ve made. We knew incredible joy in giving Ajani the best life he could have ever had, and lavishing love on him while we could. Ajani lived with us for nine months or more, he was a big boy, and Kelly had a hard time carrying him, he had lots of fluid surrounding him, because of his condition he couldn’t swallow the fluid, so it built up around him.
We really wanted God to work a miracle with Ajani, we prayed for healing, asked others to pray, people fasted, set up prayer rotas, we even went to a healing meeting… not usually my kind of scene! But we always said that whatever the outcome, we wanted the best for Ajani, and if that was to go straight to his God, then so be it. Didn’t stop us wanting him to be with us though.
To cut a long story very short Ajani went full term - against the expectation of the doctors, who all thought he would come early. In the end we had to have labour induced, which in itself gave us some heartache. But we couldn’t keep going forever, and this felt like Ajani’s time.
God didn’t heal him, we were sad, we cried and wept as Ajani came into the world, his little face bluey coloured because the blood hadn’t been oxygenated. The top of his head wasn’t there, so we gave him a little hat, knitted in advance by a good friend. We held him and loved him, all of us, Kelly, our two little girls and I. We were blessed that our families were able to see him and hold him too - poor little boy.
We hope that what we did with Ajani says something about how we consider human life, precious and valuable beyond all understanding. We were so fortunate to be able to treasure that little boy for so long, and to be part of his life.
I can only imagine how others who don’t have our strong network of friends behind them would cope with such a tough time. But its also unimaginable the guilt people must feel bringing an early end to such a precious little life. I wouldn’t condemn anyone who did so by the way, far from it, its a terrible decision to have to make.
I recall trying to tell a friend what was going on when we first found out, I fell to my knees, and wept, the pressure was so heavy on me - for those of you who know me even a little, I don’t often do that. I just felt the incredible sadness overwhelm me, and just buckled.
We love our little boy, and wish we had known him longer, but we are also so grateful to have been part of his life for so long. After his death we had a small cremation, followed by two informal but very spiritual remembrance/celebration ceremonies. I wrote a poem for the cremation order of service, which I read at one of the celebrations. You can read it here if you like, I think it expresses what I felt quite well.
On my blog you can see a little video of Ajani proving that he had a lot of fun in the womb…
Last updated January 22, 2009